President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has sent a condolence message to the President of the Republic of Sierra Leone, Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma, following heavy overnight rains that triggered a mudslide and flood on the outskirts of Freetown, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday in a press release in Monrovia.
According to the release, President Sirleaf, on behalf of the Government and people of Liberia, and in her own name, extended to the Sierra Leonean President, and through him, the Government and people of Sierra Leone, especially families of the victims, Liberia’s heartfelt condolences, and best wishes for the speedy and full recovery of the injured. “During this difficult period of national tragedy, I wish to express our solidarity with you and the people of Sierra Leone,” President Sirleaf said. She stressed that it is the hope of the Liberian government and people that the resilience and strength that the people of Sierra Leone have always demonstrated when confronted by challenging circumstances will be manifested again in the face of this natural disaster.
Monday’s mudslide led to the deaths of over 400 persons and injury to several hundred others. Heavy overnight rains triggered a mudslide and flood in the Regent area on the outskirts of Sierra Leone’s capital, Freetown, early Monday, August 14. A section of Sugar Loaf Mountain came down at around 6 a.m., when many people would have been at home sleeping or just getting up for the day.
The exact death toll from the mudslide and flooding is not yet known, but Freetown Mayor Sam Gibson has put the figure at “a total of 270 corpses” recovered and are “being prepared for burial” as of yesterday. Others estimate that over 400 lives were lost, while another 3,000 are estimated to have lost their homes, submerged by the mud.
Recovery and rescue operations are still going on.