At least one thousand are feared dead (Photo courtesy Society for Climate Change Communication).
Free Town, Sierra Leone (TDN)
Rescuers in Sierra Leone continue the grim task of pulling bodies from a deadly landslide that some believe could have claimed the lives of several thousand people.
This past Monday August 14, torrential rains triggered a mudslide that is said to have swept away several hundred homes in Mount Sugar Loaf just five miles outside the country’s capital of Freetown. Stunned relatives pointed to where the homes of loved ones once stood as the military accompanied by scores of civilians joined in the search.
By early Wednesday about 300 bodies had been recovered and taken to area morgues. Among the dead are scores of children and players from four local football teams. Most of the victims were asleep when the mudslide started in the early hours of the morning.
James Chifwelu, national director of the charity World Vision in Sierra Leone, described the scenes as "heartbreaking." He said “it's most disturbing that many children in their school uniforms were unfortunately fatally caught up in the landslide and many more are homeless, orphaned and will be without food and clothing for days to come.”
President Ernest Bai Koroma toured the area on Tuesday vowing to do all within his power to mount an effective rescue operation. However, hope for survivors was fading on Wednesday as rescuers could only retrieve the bodies of the dead.
Several days of mourning has been declared as residents try to come to grips with the devastating impact of the tragedy.