Sierra Leone mudslide survivors describe horror

by

August 16, 2017
Red Cross volunteers remove bodies from the scene of heavy flooding and mudslides in Regent, just outside of Sierra Leone's capital Freetown. The Red Cross estimates that 600 people are still missing as the death toll from massive mudslides in Sierra Leone's capital is certain to rise. (IFRC via AP)

Survivors of deadly mudslides in Sierra Leone's capital are vividly describing the disaster as President Ernest Bai Koroma says the nation is in a "state of grief".

Freetown resident Fatmata Kamara said she had come out of her house to use the toilet when she saw the mud and boulders rushing down Monday morning.

She said she ran away "almost naked" and was the only member of her family to survive.

Another resident, Ahmed Sesay, compared the sound of the mudslide to an earthquake.

The Red Cross estimates that 600 people are still missing. More than 300 people have died. The government hopes to have an updated death toll by the end of today.

Bodies have begun washing up on a beach in Freetown. Workers continue to search for an untold number of people buried in their homes.

Many victims were trapped under tons of mud as they slept.

Some are digging through the mud and debris with their bare hands in a desperate search for missing relatives. Military personnel have been deployed to help with the operation in the impoverished West African nation.

Initial Red Cross estimates have said as many as 3,000 people are left homeless.

The mortuary at Connaught Hospital has been overwhelmed.