Thousands of people need urgent aid in Sierra Leone

Mudslide death toll reaches 400; cholera and typhoid outbreaks are feared
Locals reunited in front of a building damaged by a mudslide in Freetown. President declares seven days of mourning - Photo: Liu Yu/XINHUA
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Thousands of people lost their homes in Sierra Leone after a mudslide that killed at least 400 people. Survivors need urgent support, immediate shelter, medical and food assistance, said agencies while the authorities tried to prevent disease outbreaks such as cholera and typhoid.

The slope of a mountain collapsed on Monday morning in Regent, on the outskirts of Freetown, sweeping away more than a thousand homes in one of the devastating mudslides Africa has experienced in decades. Rescue workers have recovered nearly 400 bodies from a mudslide said chief coroner Seneh Dumbuya, who explained that they anticipate more than 500 bodies as the search continues.

Among the fatal victims, there are more than 100 children. Sierra Red Cross Society spokesman, Abu Bakarr Tarawallie, said by phone he estimated that at least 3,000 people were homeless and in need of shelter, medical assistance, and food.

"We are also fearful of outbreaks of diseases such as cholera and typhoid," he added. "We can only hope that this does not happen", Tarawallie concluded. 

UN spokesman Stéphane Dujarric said that the organization is evaluating the humanitarian needs of the African country.

Sierra Leone's President, Ernest Bai Koroma, has appealed for urgent help from the international community after the devastating catastrophe. 


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