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A mudslide in Sierra Leone has killed at least 400 people with more than 600 people still missing. Flooding in Sierra Leone's capitol of Freetown has sparked a series of massive mudslides than have wiped out entire communities. The President of Sierra Leone, Ernest Bai Koroma, pleaded for help in a public statement asking for "urgent support." The President fought back tears during a tour of Regent on Monday and he described the disaster as "overwhelming us."
Presidential spokesman Abdulai Baraytay said in a statement, "The entire community is now in mourning. Loved ones are still missing, well over 600 people." United Nation teams in Sierra Leone are assisting in disaster relief efforts. A spokesperson from the UN, Stephane Dujarric, has said "Contingency plans are being put in place to mitigate any potential outbreak of waterborne diseases such as cholera, typhoid and diarrhea." Hundreds homes have disappeared under many tons of mud and water while many of their residents slept inside.
Authorities in Sierra Leone are urging people to stay away from the affected areas. "This tragedy of great magnitude has once again challenged us to come together, to stand by each other and to help one another," said President Koroma. Many homes in Sierra Leone are makeshift and unsturdy making them highly susceptible to sudden flooding or mudslides. Many settlements are vulnerable to heavy rains and easily swept away by the resulting floods. Unfortunately flooding is common in Sierra Leone and this is not the first mudslide of this magnitude and it most likely won't be the last.