Landslide in Sierra Leone kills seven

Report
from Reuters - Thomson Reuters Foundation
Published on 13 Aug 2009 View Original
FREETOWN, Aug 13 (Reuters) - At least seven people were killed and 15 injured when homes collapsed in a landslide in heavy rain in Sierra Leone's capital Freetown on Thursday, police said.

Rescue teams were searching for bodies beneath mud, stones and rubble from three hillside houses that collapsed, police official Ibrahima Samura told Reuters.

"The victims were asleep when they were trapped by the landslide," he said.

Flooding has left at least 300 people homeless, police said.

Since the start of the rainy season in June, floods and landslides have killed dozens of people in west Africa, including 19 in Ivory Coast, 16 in Ghana and seven in Benin where the government declared a state of emergency.

The International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) estimates that the lives of about 150,000 people have been disrupted by floods in the region in the past two months.

On Monday, IFRC launched a pre-emptive emergency appeal for $850,000 to help 25,000 people threatened by floods and landslides in 16 West and Central African countries, including Sierra Leone, in the coming months.

"There is going to be more heavy rain in the next three months and people should at all cost vacate dangerous areas especially those living along seaside areas around the city," said John Kaamara, a geologist at the University of Sierra Leone.

A forecast for July to September by the African Centre of Meteorological Applications for Development predicts heavy rainfall in countries along the Gulf of Guinea, which experts say is likely to cause floods and landslides. (Reporting Christo Johnson; Additional reporting by George Fominyen in Dakar; Editing by Daniel Magnowski)

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