Sierra Leone begin national mourning for hundreds killed in mudslides

Night-time mudslide buries alive hundreds in Sierra Leone homes

Mudslide and flooding kill 300 in Sierra Leone's capital

Sierra Leone's President Ernest Bai Koroma said emergency services were doing everything possible to tackle the current disaster. The British Red Cross reported that its volunteers have already saved 71 people from the mud and the debris.

Some 100 rescuers, including around 30 foreigners as well as local officers and medical workers, were at the site conducting rescue work, backed by five excavators, Wang Bo, a staff member of China Railway Seventh Group who also took part in the rescue effort, told Xinhua Tuesday.

Freetown resident Fatmata Kamara says she had come out of her house to use the toilet when she saw the mud and boulders rushing down Monday morning. "Many of our compatriots have lost their lives, many more have been gravely injured and billions of leones' worth of property destroyed", he said.

China expressed its sympathy to families of those affected by the disaster, spokesperson Hua Chunying said at a news conference.

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The Israeli humanitarian group IsraAid, in coordination with Israel's Ambassador to West Africa Paul Hirschson, purchased and sent food to Sierra Leone after the country was hit by deadly mudslides earlier this week. "She called out to another lady who had been riding a bike in front of us who, after a brief conversation, started crying and looked very upset", she said.

According to Red Cross estimates, the death toll may rise as around 600 people remain missing.

The Catholic Agency for Overseas Development (CAFOD) are on the ground in Freetown, Sierra Leone's capital and have released a statement detailing the conditions there. "Registration of affected people is ongoing now to ascertain total number of affected people later on".

A mortuary in the capital Freetown was overwhelmed yesterday, with more than 400 bodies spread on the floor. There are dead bodies in the water and littering some of the streets, and houses are still under water.

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'We have lost everything and we do not have a place to sleep, ' she told AFP.

The government has promised relief to the more than 3,000 people left homeless, opening an emergency response centre in Regent and four registration centres. Other images showed battered corpses piled on top of each other, as residents struggled to cope with the destruction.

There are now fears of an outbreak of waterborne diseases like cholera.

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