Hundreds of people are feared dead in Sierra Leone’s capital city following a massive mudslide.
Dozens of houses were submerged in mud after heavy rain caused a hillside to collapse in the mountain town of Regent on the outskirts of Freetown.
Some reports put the death toll as high as 200. As many as 60 children are thought to be among the victims.
Witnesses described roads being turned into “churning rivers of mud”.
The country’s Vice President Victor Foh told Reuters “It is likely that hundreds are lying dead underneath the rubble.” He said that a number of illegal buildings had been erected in the area.
“The disaster is so serious that I myself feel broken,” Foh added. “We’re trying to cordon (off) the area (and) evacuate the people.”
Mudslides and floods are fairly common during the rainy season in West Africa, where deforestation and poor town planning put residents at risk.