On August 14th 2017, a catastrophic mudslide caused by torrential rain, stole the lives of more than 400 people in the mountainous town of Regent, on the outskirts of Sierra Leone.
This is the heaviest known landslide caused by flooding witnessed in Africa. It has rendered thousands homeless and torn many of them apart from family members, who remain among the countless unaccounted for, as stated by the country’s officials.
A distressed mother has spoken out and has expressed her grief upon losing both her son and nephew. She explained the horrific events to a reporter at the Guardian:
“Everything is gone. We’ve lost everything – our house, everything. The mud came down with the water so fast and my son did not escape. We found him lying in the mud. He was just a boy. They took his body with the others to I don’t know where. God help Sierra Leone.”
With the number of mud-clad bodies rapidly on the rise, the morgue in the town’s hospital has been so overwhelmed due to lack of space; unclaimed bodies upon bodies have become piles on the floor. Consequently, aid agencies such as the British Red Cross have said that the death toll is likely to rise, and have warned of the increasing risk of waterborne diseases such as cholera, typhoid, and diarrhoea.
A local state of emergency has been declared as the entire town has been virtually destroyed, and not even halfway through the rain season, signs of continuing rainfall is expected to cause more flooding in the coming weeks. Satellite images show extensive damage, with hundreds of buildings consumed by the natural disaster and an estimated 3,000 people left homeless.
The people of Sierra Leone are in desperate need. All donations raised will go towards emergency aid, shelter/accommodation and essential amenities. Any amount, however little or large, will go a long way in helping these people in a time of extreme urgent need.