You can adjust your cookie choices in those tools at any time. Slides are also triggered by melting snow or permafrost, and earthquakes. When the ground eventually gives way, mudslides can rapidly speed up and pick up heavy boulders and rocks capable of intense damage. In the early morning of Aug. 14, a major mudslide hit Mount Sugarloaf, which overlooks the capital city, slicing it in two. All rights reserved. Headlines like ‘Sierra Leone mudslides kill 461’ (Telegraph UK), ‘Sierra Leone death toll now up to 450 after mudslides’ (Daily Mail), and ‘Sierra Leone Braces for More Floods Amid Mass Burials’ (Bloomberg) all highlight the natural occurance that led to the disaster. The number of victims is huge, and it seems that the country cannot handle it all by itself. A: On August 14, 2017, torrential flooding and mudslides swept through Sierra Leone near the capital, Freetown. Muddy water and debris continue to flow through the streets of Freetown, Sierra Leone's capital city, but much of the damage can be attributed to a massive mudslide that struck early Monday morning. On the morning of August 14, 2017, significant mudflow events occurred in and around the capital city of Freetown in Sierra Leone. Water cascaded down the steep slope of Sugarloaf mountain, a precipitous peak on the edge of Sierra Leone's tropical seaside capital, Freetown, where Senessie lived in … Sierra Leone has for decades been designated as a natural disaster prone country, especially for floods and mudslides, which are deemed likely not only from the effects of climate change but more so from the massive deforestation of virgin forests around the Freetown peninsula. Sierra Leone has been “gripped by grief” after massive mudslides near the capital city of Freetown, the country’s President said in a speech to the West African nation. As the ground oversaturates, the ground becomes waterlogged and loses friction. Following three days of torrential rainfall, mass wasting of mud and debris damaged or destroyed hundreds of buildings in the city, killing 1,141 people and leaving more than 3,000 homeless. It’s been almost a month since torrential rains caused widespread flooding and a mountainside to collapse on the outskirts of Sierra Leone’s capital, Freetown, sending a … This 11-year civil war resulted in 50,000 deaths and the internal displacement of two million people. This information is shared with social media, sponsorship, analytics, and other vendors or service providers. A hillside collapsed on Monday at 6am local time (06:00 GMT), causing a mudslide o n the outskirts of Sierra Leone’s capital of Freetown. On the morning of August 14, 2017, flooding and landslides severely damaged shops, roads, and homes throughout Freetown, Sierra Leone’s capital city. 2020 National Geographic Partners, LLC. After devastating mudslides in mid-August left at least 500 people dead and at least 600 missing, the impoverished African nation of Sierra Leone … Regent is a mountainous town in the Western Area Rural District of Sierra Leone.Regent lies approximately six miles east of Freetown, and close to the village of Gloucester.. A look at how and why predictions of environmental disaster were ignored in a country recovering from war and disease. He runs The Landslide Blog, a site that explains these natural disasters. Tragically, on August 14th, 2017, the Sugar Loaf Mountain in Freetown, Sierra Leone suffered a massive mudslide. Unlike flood waters, however, mud can be more densely packed with debris and more difficult to swim through. Muddy water and debris continue to flow through the streets of Freetown, Sierra Leone's capital city, but much of the damage can be attributed to a massive mudslide … The Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) of the United Nations (UN) estimated that the tiny West African country received over 2,500 mm of rain from 2013 to 2017. See details. A spokesperson for Sierra Leone's Environmental Protection Agency told the BBC that the governmental organization was aware of the slope's potential threats. Officials fear that additional rains forecasted could cause further devastation. If you click “Agree and Continue” below, you acknowledge that your cookie choices in those tools will be respected and that you otherwise agree to the use of cookies on NPR’s sites. A CDC country office was established in Sierra Leone in 2015, focusing on global health security and Ebola response. … Every year, intense rains fall throughout Sierra Leone. Comparing photos showing the progression of the slide, he theorized it was highly mobile. People walk up the mudslide in the mountain town of Regent, Sierra Leone in this still image taken from a video. Over the next 15 years, an estimated 280,000 homes would need to be constructed annually, and 60 percent of residents currently live in slums. In a dataset of annual precipitation by rainfall, Sierra Leone falls at number 12 globally. Logging was thought to be one possible culprit for the deadly landslide that hit Washington state in 2014. The Krio language unites all the different ethnic groups in the country, especially in their trade and … https://www.nationalgeographic.com/news/2017/08/sierra-leone-mudslide-deadly-video-spd.html, See video of a deadly tsunami triggered by a landslide. via Reuters TV Reuters / Tuesday, August 15, 2017 Sierra Leone is facing significant health challenges after this week's devastating mudslides claimed nearly 500 lives, a government official said, with the number of dead expected to rise. Clogged drainages and the removal of mangroves were also factors Bah cited as likely to contribute to future flooding and mudslides. Mudslides and floods have killed more than 450 people in Sierra Leone including more than 150 children. Yet, we have failed to go to the drawing board to find ways to stop these ugly occurrences. Thousands of people are missing and casualty numbers, in the hundreds, are increasing with each news report. Its population of about 7.2 million is greatly at risk and remain vulnerable to major ecological threats of water shortage and food scarcity, according to scientific projections in this year’s Global Peace Index. The report noted "deforestation, construction, and mining activity" as conditions that could likely exacerbate mudslides. This handout picture released on August 14, 2017, by Society 4 Climate Chnage Communication Sierra Leone, shows flooded streets in Regent near Freetown. Sierra Leone is rich in mineral resources, has since long relied on mining, especially of diamonds, for … (Logging was thought to be one possible culprit for the deadly landslide that hit Washington state in 2014.). CDC works closely with Sierra Leone on strengthening laboratory, surveillance, emergency management, and workforce capacity to respond to disease outbreaks. The Sierra Leone Peninsula, which is the site of Freetown, is a region of thickly wooded mountains that run parallel to the sea for about 25 miles (40 km). The country's official name is the Republic of Sierra Leone. Figure 1- Map of 2017 Sierra Leone mudslides – areas affected The mudslide that began on the slopes of Freetown, Sierra Leone’s capital city, on 14 August 2017 left many hundreds dead, many thousands displaced or homeless, and many orphans and single parents. World Sierra Leone Natural disasters Freetown Just a year after emerging from a devastating Ebola outbreak, Sierra Leone has been devastated by another catastrophe. By looking at photos of the mudslide, Petley ascertained that it occurred in a region with deeply weathered soil. Hundreds of people are feared dead following massive mudslides near Freetown, the capital of the West African nation of Sierra Leone. A 2015 report put out by Bohr Industries noted the company's reluctance to continue development in Freetown. And now the country has seen one of Africa's worst natural disasters in recent years. For a country so historically accustomed to heavy rainfall, the level of destruction prompts questions about what could have triggered the slide and what factors made it worse. This region of Sierra Leone saw more rainfall than what is typically seen during this time of year, meaning the ground was likely oversaturated. Regent is the hometown of Sierra Leonean economist and politician, Solomon A. J Pratt. Over 400 people are confirmed dead and approximately 600 more are missing. While mudslides can be a devastating natural phenomenon, many experts are also blaming a lack of adequate infrastructure and deforestation for the intensity of the slide. This was how Ernest Bai Koroma, president of Sierra Leone, described the effects of the mudslide that devastated Regent, on the outskirts of the country’s capital, Freetown in … You may click on “Your Choices” below to learn about and use cookie management tools to limit use of cookies when you visit NPR’s sites. Mudslides are often caused by natural phenomenons like earthquakes, volcanic eruption, flood, landslides, hurricanes, etc.Here is an overview of the worst mudslides that have ever been recorded. ), Dave Petley is the pro vice chancellor at the University of Sheffield in the United Kingdom. The Peninsula Mountains rise from the coastal swamps and reach some 2,900 feet (880 metres) at Picket Hill. The country's EPA claims to have visited the region two weeks prior in an attempt to plant trees but they weren't successful. NPR’s sites use cookies, similar tracking and storage technologies, and information about the device you use to access our sites (together, “cookies”) to enhance your viewing, listening and user experience, personalize content, personalize messages from NPR’s sponsors, provide social media features, and analyze NPR’s traffic. Rice In Every Meal. Sierra Leone failed to account for nearly one-third of the funds that were allocated to fight Ebola, with 11 billion leones ($1.5 million) missing from the first six months of the epidemic alone. (A mudslide tends to follow a river-like path, while a landslide typically refers to earthen debris falling down a slope.). Overwhelmed by the scale of Sierra Leone's mudslide, President Ernest Bai Koroma appealed for urgent help from the international community | NewsBytes When heavy rainfall falls after a dry period, the ground can become saturated with water. The World Bank has estimated the total economic loss of this mudslide to be approximately 31.65 million USD. Rescue workers from the Sierra Leone government and the Red Cross are continuing efforts to help those affected. Despite seeing numerous slides before, Petley was perplexed by the mudslide in Sierra Leone, saying that the deadly effect was "unusual and a little perplexing.". At the most basic level, landslides are triggered by gravity, but weather can accelerate and intensify the movement. Sierra Leone is listed among countries most prone to experience climate change and natural disasters. Rice is the staple food of Sierra Leone with most local citizens eating it as part … The day the mountain fell: Sierra Leone’s mudslide. That number is expected to rise as hundreds are missing. Three days of heavy rains triggered flash floods and a massive landslide in and around the capital Freetown on 14 August. The mudslide occurred after three days of … Freetown is one of the world's largest natural harbors and nearly a million people live in and around its forested mountain regions. Mudslides are naturally occurring disasters with the power to bring about the loss of life, the destruction of property and widespread chaos. A civil war that took place from 1991 to 2002 is also a studied cause of deforestation. See the awesome destructive power of landslides. © 1996-2015 National Geographic Society, © 2015- Speaking with The Guardian, a UN official stated that satellite data and drone mapping is being used to predict a second possible mudslide. It’s no small wonder then that Sierra Leone’s medical infrastructure is still faulty, and the August mudslide … The population of Regent is ethnically and religiously very diverse. As of August 14, 400 people were presumed dead and 600 more were still missing. Sierra Leone is still reeling from the effects of a mudslide that killed nearly 1 000 people, left hundreds missing and rendered thousands homeless. The Sierra Leone mudslide seems to be only the latest of a series of catastrophes that have hit the country in the last decade. According to the watchdog group Global Forest Watch, Sierra Leone has lost nearly 800,000 hectares of forest cover in the past decade, with loss accelerating in 2015. Since 2016, Sierra Leone has continued to experience heavy torrential downpours during the rainy season, causing mudslides and floods – leaving many dead. Deforestation presents a significant threat to regions prone to mudslides. Sierra Leone is a West African country bordered by the Atlantic Ocean in the south-west, Liberia in the south-east, and Guinea in the north. (See video of a deadly tsunami triggered by a landslide. Figure 1 below shows the areas impacted by this disaster. Understanding how something like mud turns deadly can be difficult to imagine. In some cases, entire families disappeared. Tree roots are often effective in anchoring soil in place, and as roots are removed, it's more likely rain will trigger deadly slides. Mudslides with high mobility often look like flash floods in videos, where they can be seen appearing almost instantly. Explaining the Deadly Sierra Leone Mudslide. "Irresponsible actions taken on the hills will affect the city greatly," Bah said of the deforestation taking place on hilltops. Speaking to local paper Standard Times Press in 2015, Sierra Leone EPA Climate Change Secretariat Mohamed Bah gave an ominous interview warning of events like the slide in Freetown. Second possible mudslide series of catastrophes that have hit the country 's claims. 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