Sierra Leone – Over 300 Dead After Mudslide and Floods in Freetown

A mudslide on the outskirts Freetown, Sierra Leone on 14 August 2017, has left more than 300 people dead.

The areas has experienced 3 days of heavy rain, which has also resulted in severe flooding in low-lying areas of Freetown.

The mudslide occurred on Mount Sugar Loaf, in the mountainous town of Regent, Western Area Rural District, a few kilometres from Freetown.

“The mudslide swept down from the hills on the outskirts of Freetown early this morning and spared nothing in its path,” said Sasha Ekanayake, Save the Children’s Sierra Leone Country Director. “Houses are buried and entire families are missing, including children.

Red Cross spokesman Patrick Massaquoi told AFP news agency that 312 were confirmed dead and warned the toll could rise further as more bodies are recovered.

Sierra Leone Vice President Victor Foh told news organizations that hundreds of people could be lying dead underneath the rubble, and search and rescue efforts are continuing.

Red Cross said that volunteers are digging for survivors and supporting distraught families. Current estimates indicate that as many as 3,000 have been made homeless, although this figure is expected to rise as the picture becomes clearer.

Abdul Nasir, the Programme Coordinator for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) has been working alongside the rescue teams, and has described the devastation:

“In places, entire communities seem to have been washed away and whatever is left is covered in mud,” he said. “Red Cross volunteers have been on site since this morning and have been digging with their bare hands and whatever tools available to find survivors. They are also caring for and helping family members who are desperately waiting for news of their loved ones.”

Communication lines and electricity have been disrupted and the full extent and damage is yet to be determined.

In addition to the mudslide, low-lying areas of Freetown, such as Goderich have been affected by torrential flooding that has destroyed buildings and left homes underwater. The flooding and mudslide come following three days of torrential rains.

In fact Freetown has seen a considerable amount of rainfall over the last few weeks. Direct Relief says that Freetown has received triple the amount of rain usually seen, more than 1041.4mm (41 inches) since 01 July 2017, according to the US National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center.

Direct Relief added: “Storms and torrential downpours are expected during the August and September months each year as monsoonal weather patterns move across Africa from east to west. The storms produce high amounts of rain in a short amount of time, often prompting severe flash flooding…”

2015 Floods

In September 2015, Freetown endured deadly floods sparked by torrential rain that killed 10 people.

According to government figures, as many as 24,000 people in five districts were affected by the flooding.

An estimated 12,000 people were displaced and initially sought refuge in local sports stadiums. Many of the victims were still in the temporary relief camps as much as 4 months later.

The Africa Research Institute blamed the 2015 floods on Freetown’s poor planning, rapid urban growth and an increase of informal settlements and poorly built housing.

Social Media

Safe in Sierra Leone but thinking that life is very unfair for so many others #sierraleone

A post shared by Dawn (@dawncharris) on

Flood Summary

Last updated: August 30, 2017
Sierra Leone, August 2017
August 14, 2017
Flash flood, Landslide
Extreme rainfall, Long-term rainfall
The flooding and landslides of 14 August occurred after 80 mm of rain fell in a few hours.

The verification of registered affected persons led by Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs took place on 26-27-28 August with support from several humanitarian partners. A total of 1,424 households were verified and/or newly registered bringing the total of directly affected people to 5,962 including 904 children under 5 years and 113 pregnant women.

Further flooding occurred 26/27 August Freetown. UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reported that flooding damaged a health centre, a bridge and a school at Kroo Bay. One person was reported dead and two injured.


A - Regent
B - Freetown
C - Goderich
D - Lumley
E - Kissy Brook


Rainfall level
81.3 mm in 24 hours
Wilberforce, Freetown - August 14 to August 14, 2017
Nearly 81.3 mm fell in 12 hours of which 70 mm fell in about 7 hours, according to Sierra Leone Meteorological Agency


409 people
August 14 to August 19, 2017
According to ECHO figures
Missing people
810 people
August 14 to August 19, 2017
According to ECHO figures
330 people
August 14 to August 19, 2017