dinsdag 30 augustus 2022

Sierra Leone floods

In Sierra Leone it is raining very heavily this weekend and floods and mud slides have occurred again. The disaster is not as large as in 2017, when at least 1000 people were buried under the mud. A friend (living near Regent, see map) called me in those days: "Remember those hills that you were looking at from our house; they are gone.". This time there are probably a dozen deadly casualties.

The capital Freetown is located on a narrow coastal strip on the Atlantic Ocean, surrounded by hills. Due to the influx of many new and often destitute residents from the countryside, much illegal and inconsiderate construction of houses has been done against the hills, especially since the civil war ended in 2002.

Several of my friends have sent me messages and videos. In one video I have seen four dead people, wrapped in colored sheets, being carried away on stretchers, including a small child. Other footage shows chaotic and frantic rescue efforts to get people out of the rubble and mud. One of the videos shows a man stuck up to his shoulders in the mud.

I received the first report about the heavy rainfall on Friday, August 26, when my young friend Susu informed me that the rain was pouring in his room through his leaking roof and a smashed window. He does not have a bed - can't afford one - and always sleeps on the floor, but because of the rain he can not and did not dare to go to sleep. In the train from Germany to France I sent him some money for an emergency repair. His room is still leaking and for a bigger repair he needs cement and other building materials. (*)

The exact reports, places and numbers of victims are still unclear to me, but below I collect individual messages and videos that I have received. Google Maps is showing the flood areas (red circles, Overstromingen = Floods).

Sierra Leone National situation room

Report of 28 AUG ’22 informs of flash floods and landslide in some communities in the Western Area due to torrential rains as follows:

• In Kanikay, Culvert, Kaningo and Tengbeh Town, some houses and major roads are reportedly flooded leaving residents trapped in the raging waters and their properties destroyed.
• In Looking Town, there was a landslide that covered two houses and some people are reportedly trapped in the rubble. Residents in the community managed to remove five people from the rubble. Four (04) of them had already died and the remaining one, a child (age 7) was rescued alive and taken to the Rokupa Government Hospital.
• In Brook Street, a perimeter fence collapsed on a building which left some people trapped in the building.
• In Cassava Farm on Leicester Road, a building collapsed due to the torrential rain. However, no casualties have been reported.

Hawanatu konneh Network
A family of 8 were trapped, 6 passed away and 2 survived in the community of Looking Town, Freetown, after a flooding and mudslide that occurred in Freetown today Sunday 28th August 2022. The rescue team, which comprised of youths in the community, do all theirs best to save their lives, but unfortunately they were not able to make it. May their gentle souls rest in peace. 


Six people died in Looking Town

Floods streaming through street and houses
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Man stuck in mud, rescue efforts
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Rescue efforts
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Rescue efforts
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Four deaths being carried away
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Elephant walking along landslide
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My friend's leaking house in the rain
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Leaking roof, interior
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Trying to repair the leaking roof

(*) Susu on Tuesday 30/8/22: Rain is not coming now this morning, my room is okay for now, but rain will come again any time. So I need to be ready for it. My mom's room is okay, sir, only if the rain is too big it will enter her room. But she is fine now.
- Did you check what you need and the prices of materials?
Yes, sir, I checked it. I need two bags of cement, that's 100,000 leones [ca. €7,50] for one bag. I need sand, I need nails, I need to pay the people that will do it. I need to buy hard board and paint. I need to make new cement blocks. For now I only need the panel for safety and I will do the other work later, maybe after the rain. I need 12 panels, they usually cost 20,000 for one, but because of the rain it's 25000, so 25×12 = 300,000 leones [ca. €22,50]. What I need now is the panels for today, because if I had strong panels over my head, I will be safe from rain water. I don't want to use any plastic anymore, because it's a waste of time and money.

Thanks to Susu and Jonas a.o. for the videos and updates. 

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