More than 300 people have been killed after a mudslide and heavy flooding near Sierra Leone’s capital, Freetown, the Red Cross says.
A hillside in Regent, collapsed in the early hours of Monday morning after heavy rains, leaving hundreds of people trapped. Morgues in the capital have been overwhelmed with bodies, while relatives have been left to dig through the mud in search of remains.
Death tolls are unconfirmed, although the International Federation of Red Cross reports that 312 have been killed and more than 1,000 affected. Disaster officials in Sierra Leone have estimated 2,000 people have been left homeless.
“It is likely that hundreds are lying dead underneath the rubble,” Victor Foh, the country’s vice president, told Reuters at the scene of the mudslide in Regent, adding that a number of buildings had been erected illegally in the area.
Sierra Leone’s national television broadcaster interrupted its regular programming to show scenes of people trying to retrieve the bodies of loved-ones. Others were seen carrying relatives’ remains in rice sacks to the mortuary.
Military personnel have been deployed to help in the rescue operation in the West African country.
— S4CCC-SL (@scccsierraleone) August 14, 2017