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Sierra Leone Landslide, Floods kill Eight

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Sierra Leonean capital Freetown a landslide and flooding caused by heavy rains continued on Monday, rescue workers said.

Four men, a woman and a seven-year-old girl died on Sunday when buildings on a mountainside were submerged by a mudslide during heavy rains in the Looking Town area, the national disaster management agency reported.

Two other men died in the Mount Aureol and Blackhall Road areas when barriers collapsed on the buildings they were in, the agency added.

More than 800 people have been displaced due to flooding in the Colbert area, agency spokesman Mohammed Bah told AFP.

“The landslide is due to the heavy rains, there is no doubt about that, but also to a combination of illegal activities,” he said.

“People are cutting down trees and destroying the forest cover. The landslide is mainly the result of people building outside the designated areas,” he said.

Authorities asked residents to evacuate the affected communities.

President Julius Maada Bio blamed the calamities on climate change but also on poor urban planning.

“We see with the heavy rainfall this August the impact and consequence of global warming and climate change,” he wrote on Twitter on Sunday evening. “But years of poor urban planning and mismanagement of municipal resources have contributed enormously to the flooding,” he added.

Freetown Mayor Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr, who visited the flood victims, warned that more extreme events could be expected due to climate change. “This is something we all need to be aware of,” she said.

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