Finding Survivors in Sierra Leone Mudslide Unlikely

Sierra Leone mudslide Aisha Buhari commiserates with Mrs Koroma

Sierra Leone mudslide Aisha Buhari commiserates with Mrs Koroma

Days of heavy rain triggered a mudslide in Sierra Leone on Monday.

For Stevens, the wait brought only disappointment.

At times like this, she said, "it was important for wives of Presidents to support their husbands in handling the dire situation".

Chief coroner Seneh Dumbuya told Reuters on Tuesday that almost 400 bodies had been brought in and that he anticipated more than 500 as the search continued.

Sierra Leone has pleaded for worldwide assistance, while Amnesty global issued a statement accusing the government of failing to learn from similar incidents. Workers continue to search for an untold number of people buried in their homes. Red Cross officials estimated some 600 others remained missing more than 48 hours after the storm hit while most of the victims slept.

"My wife and I were so deeply shocked and saddened to hear of the terrible loss of life and devastation caused by the recent flooding and mudslide in Freetown and we wanted you to know just how much our hearts go out to all those who have been so cruelly bereaved or injured, or whose homes have been destroyed".

The government has said that all unidentified remains will have a proper burial.

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Some are digging through the mud and debris with their bare hands in a desperate search for missing relatives.

According to a statement from the Office of the President, the national mourning will start from August 16-22, during which period all flags would be flown at half mast.

Deveaux said definitive death figures were unknown "as the mortuary is overwhelmed with corpses - men, women and children".

Amid the chaos of rescue efforts, the government has said contingency plans were being put in place to try to stem the outbreak of diseases such as cholera. Volunteers are also assisting family members who are trying to identify loved ones.

A third of the dead were children. Freetown also is plagued by unregulated building of large residential houses in hilltop areas.

Mudslides and floods are fairly common in rainy parts of Africa, and deforestation and poor town planning often contribute to the risk.

Ahmed Sesay, the caretaker of a two-story house near the Guma Valley Dam east of the capital, said he was sleeping around 6:00 GMT when he felt a vibration.

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