At least eight people have lost their lives after torrential rains caused floods and landslides in an informal settlement in Looking Town in Sierra Leone’s capital Freetown.
President Julius Maada extended his condolences to the families and friends of those who lost their lives. Maada described the situation as alarming and blamed the disaster partly on climate change.
“I wish to extend my sincere condolence to the families and friends of those who lost their lives during today’s torrential rainfall. Flooding has been reported in several parts of Freetown, and the situation has been alarming. I’ve been closely monitoring the situation since this morning and liaising with the management of the National Disaster Management Agency to keep citizens safe during the heavy rainfall. The heavy downpour experienced this August points to the impact and consequence of global warming and climate change. But years of poor urban planning and mismanagement of the city’s resources are an enormous contributor to flooding across Freetown. My team will continue to reach out to the Mayor to proffer solutions to keep citizens safe during the rainy season. Thank you to all the government personnel and community workers working tirelessly to assist the affected communities. We will double our efforts for flood mitigating measures during the rainy season. My prayer goes out to all those affected by the heavy downpour. Please stay safe in your houses and the roads as you start your week tomorrow, ” he said on his Twitter account.
Freetown Mayor Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr, tweeted that she had visited areas affected by the heavy rains. “My heart goes out to families of 6 people who died in #LookingTown mudslide. They lived on a very steep slope in the hills above Kissy. In addition to planting more trees, #LandUsePlanning & an #Environmentally sensitive #BuildingPermit regime will save lives. May their souls RIP, ” the mayor said.
In Sierra Leone’s rainy season, flooding is common, resulting in landslides and other disasters. According to AFP, Sierra Leoneans this month marked the fifth anniversary of a devastating mudslide that killed more than 1,000 in Freetown’s Regent district. On August 14, 2017, a landslide triggered by heavy rains inundated a part of the urban area of Regent with mud with many deaths reported. It is believed that the mudslide and floods occurred after three days of torrential rain which overwhelmed the inadequate drainage system of the city, creating waterways that turbulently flowed down steep streets across the capital, reported Front Page Africa in 2017.