Devastating mudslide kills hundreds in Freetown

“It is indeed a sad day in Freetown.”  These are the words of our in-country director, Ishmeal Charles, as he and others from Caritas-Freetown were on site to aid the survivors from a deadly mudslide that occurred early Monday morning, August 14th

Hundreds Killed –  Thousands Homeless

Local reports have the death toll from this horrific mudslide as high as 300 and nearly 3,000 families and children homeless.  These numbers are expected to rise in the coming days as rescue and recovery efforts continue. The BBC reports that many may have been asleep when the mudslide occurred and 60 children are possibly among the dead. 

Charles described the scene and his feelings,

The rain started since about 4am this morning.  Now we have seen so many people losing their lives and houses.

My pain, my agony and tears are all over all our faces.  So sad Sierra Leone is from one trouble to another.

Seeing so many people trying to protect their houses, old, young and children.  To sad to be real.

We are out here in the field.

The rainy season in Sierra Leone lasts from June to August, with heaviest rains in August.  The rains and inadequate drainage system often result in frequent flooding in Freetown during this time.  In 2015, 10 people were killed by the floods and thousands left homeless.

Rebuilding lives after the mudslide

Summarizing the situation Charles said, “It has never been this bad. I have lived here all my life, this is the worst I have ever seen in my lifetime.” He continued, “We are not able to describe well the terrible conditions.”

Click here to listen to Charles describe the situation.  The interview starts at 18:28.

In the days and weeks ahead we will be working with our in-country partner Caritas-Freetown to help those who are suffering from this tragedy rebuild their lives.  Please stay up-to-date on our efforts by following us on Facebook and Twitter.

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