THE death toll from a devastating landslide and flooding
that hit Sierra Leone earlier this week has risen to nearly 500, according to
More than 600 people remained missing on Sunday, with
rescue officials warning that the chances of finding survivors are decreasing
each day. The death toll earlier stood at 450.
One of Africa's worst flooding-related disasters in years
occurred when the side of Mount Sugar Loaf collapsed on Monday after heavy
rain, burying parts of Regent town on the outskirts of the capital, Freetown.
Churches across the country held special services on
Sunday in memory of those killed.
Authorities this week buried 461 bodies in quickly-dug
graves in the nearby Waterloo cemetery.
Six days after the mudslide, at least 10 000 people have
already been forced from their homes.
The government has called for the evacuation of another
10 000 people living on an unstable hillside in Freetown, where a large crack
Displaced survivors have been returning to where their
homes once stood to search for missing loved ones and retrieve belongings.
For some, the scenes of the catastrophe are still fresh.
"It was so strong," Bakary Conte, a hillside
resident told Al Jazeera. "It took everything away. There is nothing to
save. I don't want to live here anymore. I am afraid."
Improvised centres have been set up by aid agencies to
help those affected.
Foreign aid from the rest of the world is being sent to
Freetown, according to authorities.
Aid groups are providing clean water as a health crisis
Shelters for those displaced are yet to be organised and
for the moment, only milk and bread are being distributed to the affected
"We are hungry, we have nowhere to sleep, and we've
lost our precious families," community chief Falma Sylla told Al Jazeera.
The threat of deadly landslides is growing in parts of
West and central Africa as rainfall, deforestation and urban populations rise,
On Wednesday, at least 200 people were killed in north eastern
Democratic Republic of Congo after a landslide swept through a fishing village
on the banks of Lake Albert in Ituri province.