Hundreds of people have been killed, and more than 2,000 people are estimated to be homeless, as a result of a mudslide on the outskirts of Freetown, the capital of the west African nation of Sierra Leone.
A hillside in the Regent area collapsed early on Monday following heavy rains, leaving many houses covered in mud.
A BBC reporter at the scene says many people may have been asleep when the mudslide occurred.
Sierra Leone’s Vice-President Victor Bockarie Foh said it was “likely that hundreds are lying dead”. The total number of casualties is likely to rise.
Mr Foh told Reuters news agency that the disaster was “so serious that I myself feel broken”. He said that the area was being cordoned off as people were being evacuated, including many still feared trapped in their homes.
An Agence France-Presse journalist saw bodies being carried away and houses submerged in mud in two areas of the city, where roads were turned into churning rivers.
Kelfa Kargbo, country director in Sierra Leone for the organisation Street Child, which is assisting with the recovery, said the mudslide started at 3am when a heavy downpour covered Freetown, bringing down all the houses built along the side of the hill in Regent. “It had a domino effect for a distance of about two miles. The mud came down burying people alive, bringing down houses, bringing down big buildings.”
Throughout Monday, searches for bodies were carried out by residents, emergency workers and the military.
Street Child understands that no survivors have been dug up since 7am in the morning. Kargbo said: “Construction companies have brought in their power tillers to help dig up bodies. There’s no equipment. This is unprecedented and Sierra Leone was ill-prepared for such a catastrophe.”
The Red Cross and the government are moving the bodies to a holding centre at Connaught hospital in Freetown, which is overwhelmed by the level of need. Families have been asked to go to identify bodies, but most are continuing to search for survivors.
Flooding in Freetown, Sierra Leone pic.twitter.com/2g6zEVdkbC
— Francis Reffell (@francisreffell) August 14, 2017
— Jamie Hitchen (@jchitchen) August 14, 2017
Now more than 12 hours after the humanitarian disaster occurred, Black Lives Matter has not bothered to comment on its national Twitter page about the tragic end to likely hundreds of black lives, with thousands more affected in other ways. Not that Black Lives Matter hasn’t made numerous posts and retweets about other topics during the relevant time period.
What is pinned to the top of the Black Lives Matter national Twitter page is a link, via Fundly, to the “Solidarity Cville Anti-Racist Legal Fund.” That fund, in its very first bullet point under “Fund Principles,” quotes convicted murderer-of-a-police-officer Assata Shakur (““It is our duty to fight for our freedom. It is our duty to win. We must love each other and support each other. We have nothing to lose but our chains.”).