Hospital officials: Nearly 500 dead in Sierra Leone mudslides

FILE - In this Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2017 file photo, volunteers stand at the scene of heavy flooding and mudslides in Regent, just outside of Sierra Leone's capital Freetown. Churches across Sierra Leone held special services Sunday, Aug. 20 in memory of the more than 450 people who were killed in mudslides and flooding earlier this week. (AP Photo/Kabba Kargbo, file)

FREETOWN, Sierra Leone (AP) — Churches across Sierra Leone held special services Sunday in memory of those killed in mudslides and flooding earlier this week, as hospital officials announced the toll had risen to nearly 500 bodies collected.

More than 600 people remain missing and rescue officials have warned that the chances of finding survivors are decreasing each day. The death toll earlier stood at 450.

The Inter-Religious Council called for the services to be held Sunday in honor of the deceased, as special prayers and recitals were offered in mosques Friday and Sunday.

The preacher at Buxton Memorial Methodist Church in Freetown, the capital, offered a sermon that looked at mankind’s contribution to the disaster, as a gospel band rendered the song “Papa God Sorry for Salone (Sierra Leone).”

Large-scale-burials have taken place all this week amid rainy weather that threatened further mudslides.

The government of the impoverished West African nation in recent days has warned residents to evacuate a mountainside where a large crack has opened. Thousands of people live in areas at risk and the main focus is making sure they leave before further disaster, authorities have told local media.

Aid groups are providing clean water as a health crisis looms.

“Water sources have been contaminated” and that officials “fear for an outbreak of waterborne diseases,” said Saidu Kanu, country director for World Hope International.

Foreign aid from the rest of the world is being sent to Freetown, said authorities.

NBC4i.com provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s