Wednesday, 16 August 2017

'Several thousand still missing' after mudslides in Sierra Leone

Several thousand people are still missing in Sierra Leone after heavy rain caused mudslides, a charity has told Sky News.

Tearfund says it has been told that there are churches where dozens of members of the same congregation have died.

Sky's Rebecca Williams, in the capital Freetown, says she has been told that more than 500 bodies have now been brought to the city's morgue.

Storms swept through the capital of the West African country on Monday, leaving streets under water and causing whole hillsides to collapse in rural areas.

Gaston Slanwa, Tearfund's Country Representative for Sierra Leone said: "I drove around Freetown yesterday. On one bridge I saw two people who were already dead being pulled out of the water.

"In just one of the church communities we work with, 60 people have died and 300 have lost their homes."

ActionAid said it had been told that, so far, 3,400 people have been reported missing.

The charity's Zynab Kamara said: "In nearly a decade of working on humanitarian response I've never witnessed anything so tragic.

"I saw children clambering over the rubble and mud, desperately calling for their parents."

Sierra Leone's president Ernest Bai Koroma issued a desperate appeal for help, fighting back tears as he toured Regent, one of the worst-hit areas.

"Entire communities have been wiped out," he said. "We need urgent support now."

A spokesman for the UK's Department for International Development (DFID) said British military personnel were able to assist at the scene within just hours of the landslip.

SKY       News.

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