At least 7 people have lost their lives after storms and heavy rain caused flooding and mudslides in parts of Freetown, capital of Sierra Leone in West Africa.
Stormy weather hit the city from 09 to 10 May 2023. Flash flooding swept through city streets, washing away cars and damaging buildings. Six people died and 2 were injured when a wall collapsed due to flooding in Cline Town. Another fatality was reported after a mudslide in the Moyeiba area of the city. The National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA) also reported flood damage to the Leone Oil Facility in Kissy.
Sierra Leone Red Cross Society were providing support to affected communities Cline Town, including first aid services and psychosocial support for affected families.
Mayor of Freetown, Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr, visited affected areas to offer her condolences and financial support. “It was heart wrenching to spend some time consoling the bereaved families,” she said.
“The disasters that continue to destroy lives and properties are mostly the direct result of no land use planning, no building permits and extensive deforestation. I will continue to advocate for the devolution of land use planning, building regulations, and building permits to all local Councils so that construction, especially in hillside communities is better regulated. This will prevent the indiscriminate deforestation and erosion that fills our gutters and waterways with silt every year, causing flooding,” the mayor added.
Two weeks ago the mayor visited the Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary, just outside Freetown. She commented, “This used to be an oasis of thick green forest. Now there is deforestation everywhere and even the nearby water dam was totally dry. Deforestation of the hillsides surrounding Freetown is one of the major causes of flooding. The silt that covers the roads and fills the gutters can be seen by all. The Ministries of Land and Environment have the responsibility to protect our forests to prevent flooding and preserve our water sources!”
More than 300 people died in floods and mudslides in the city in August 2017.
Severe weather affected parts of Koinadugu District district in the Northern Province of Sierra Leone on 06 May. According to the NDMA, 6 people died and 13 were injured when a tree and other structures collapsed during a storm.