Sierra Leone Tragedy: Mass Burials for At Least 400 Mudslide Victims

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Mass Graves for the Victims

Two days after a tragedy in Sierra Leone’s capital of Freetown and rigid overnight search and rescue operation, some of the 400 bodies recovered from the mudslides are being buried in mass graves.

Mohamed Kamara, the head of the burial team said 320 people were buried on Tuesday afternoon in two graves at a cemetery in Freetown.

Some of the hundreds more bodies recovered from the disaster hit areas are set to be buried in the following days. The dead bodies are placed in morgues in the nearby hospitals.

African Country Gripped by Grief

The impact of the national tragedy and its massive human casualties caused grief among its citizens and political leaders. President Ernest Koroma fought back tears as he toured the location of the disaster in Regent on Monday and said the devastation was “overwhelming us.”

“Many of our compatriots have lost their lives, many more have been gravely injured and billions of leones worth of property destroyed in the flooding and landslides that swept across some parts of our city,” President Ernest Koroma said in his speech Monday.

“I am very disturbed by this national tragedy and with a heavy heart, let me extend profound condolences to the bereaved families. This is not a tragedy for you alone; it is a tragedy for every Sierra Leonean because the people who have perished in this disaster are our compatriots. Every single family, every single ethnic group, every single region is either directly or indirectly affected by this disaster.”

Vice President Victor Foh told Reuters that hundreds of people are still under the rubble. Most of them could not be saved anymore.

The disaster is so serious that I myself feel broken,” he was reported saying. “We’re trying to cordon (off) the area (and) evacuate the people.”

Deadly Mudslide Buries Hundreds of People

A massive mudslide swept through the outskirts of the capital city of Freedom in Sierra Leone, killing hundreds of residents around the area.

Media reports say local authorities discovered the bodies of 400 people and hundreds more are feared to be missing. The national tragedy left thousands of people homeless as well.

The authorities blamed heavy rains and torrential flooding as the major cause of the landslides. It is the rainy season in Sierra Leone and rain has poured almost daily since July 1.

Freetown is an overcrowded coastal city of more than one million people.

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A muddy road after flooding.

Mina Fabulous follows the news, especially what is going on in the US State Department. Mina turns State Department waffle into plain English. Mina Fabulous is the pen name of Carmen Avalino, the NewsBlaze production editor. When she isn’t preparing stories for NewsBlaze writers, she writes stories, but to separate her editing and writing identities, she uses the name given by her family and friends.