The Red Cross says 179 bodies have been brought to the central morgue in Sierra Leone’s capital, Freetown, after a mudslide in the outskirts of the city on Monday morning.
Red Cross spokesman, Abu Tarawallie, said by telephone that the death toll is expected to rise as more bodies are recovered.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the Vice President of Sierra Leone Victor Foh said that 200 people have likely been killed in a mudslide in the outskirts of Freetown.
“It is likely that hundreds are lying dead underneath the rubble,” Mr. Foh told Reuters at the scene of the mudslide in the mountain town of Regent, adding that a number of illegal buildings had been erected in the area.
“The disaster is so serious that I myself feel broken,” he added.
“We’re trying to cordon (off) the area (and) evacuate the people.”
The mudslide happened in the early morning in the mountain town of Regent, where dozens of houses were submerged after a night of heavy rain.
A major rescue operation is now underway although emergency workers are struggling to reach the worst-affected areas.
Mudslides and floods are fairly common during the rainy season in West Africa, where deforestation and poor town planning put residents at risk.