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Death toll of mudslide disaster in Sierra Leone hits 499

Bodies recovered from the mudslide and flooding in Sierra Leone last week have totalled 499, local media reported on Sunday.

Victims included 162 men, 163 women, 70 boys and 86 girls and an additional 18, Awoko Newspaper reported.

The side of a hill collapsed in heavy rains in the early hours of August 14, killing residents and destroying homes near or on the outskirts of Freetown, capital of Sierra Leone, and leaving more than 2,000 others homeless.

Sierra Leone’s President Ernest Bai Koroma on Tuesday declared seven days of mourning across the country with immediate effect.

Humanitarian aids are coming in from countries including China and Ghana for the people affected by the disaster.

According to the Chinese Embassy in Sierra Leone, in addition to donations from local Chinese companies and organisations, the Chinese government had decided to provide emergency humanitarian aid of one million US dollars to the Sierra Leonean government.

Ghana has also mobilised relief items valued at one million US dollars for victims of the flood and mudslide disaster in Sierra Leone.

At Connaught Hospital, morgue worker Mohamed Sinneh Kamara said: “We buried 50 more bodies on Friday. We have so far buried 450 corpses.”

Most of the bodies were found decomposed and families were not allowed to identify them.

He added: “We’re receiving calls from disaster-hit communities every three to four hours about a corpse found in a drainage or under a collapsed building.”

Three more bodies were found in a search for survivors in the Regent district, where the side of a hill collapsed, the emergency services said. The disaster killed 122 children and left 123 orphaned.

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