Over 3000 people are left without homes, 600 people missing and a death toll rising to 400 due to the violent mud slides in the outskirts of Freetown in Sierra Leone.
According to Red Cross, their volunteers are literally diffing for survivors and supporting distraught families who have been traumatized by the heavy flooding and mudslides that ripped through The Capital.
According to Abdul Nasir, Programme Coordinator for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) entire communities seem to have been washed away and whatever is left is covered in mud. Nasir notes that Red Cross volunteers have been digging for survivors with whatever tools are available and their bare hands to find survivors.
“We are also fearful of outbreaks of diseases such as cholera and typhoid,” noted, of which deems a necessary fear as water-based natural disasters are the hub of disease outbreak. Cholera typhoid are diseases birthed from contaminated water, of which could put a toll on the public health of Sierra Leone, a country which is healing from the Ebola outbreak of 2014/2015.
Sierra Leone’s President Ernest Bai Koroma noted that there are rescue centers set up around Freetown to register and assist victims, however it is not enough, more international response and aid is needed. This plea was reiterated by African Union Commissioner Mousa Faki Mahamat in a press release. “My thoughts and prayers go out to the families who lost loved ones, “he said .“The entire AU family stands united with the people and government of Sierra Leone during this difficult time,” he added. The Chairperson further appealed to all Africans and the diaspora, as well as to international partners, to support Sierra Leone and its public health system respond to this disaster. It must be noted however, that the African Union did launch a Center of Disease Control in January this year, that may be able to aid Sierra Leone if there is a disease outbreak, as they were deployed in DRC this past July with regards to the minor Ebola Outbreak in the region.
The mudslides come following three days of torrential rains. Communication lines and electricity have been disrupted and the full extent and damage from the mudslides have yet to be determined, however through more extensive response programs can create a clearer picture.