Red Cross believes at least 600 missing in deadly Sierra Leone mudslides

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Almost 400 people are confirmed dead after a mudslide in the Regent area and floods elsewhere in Freetown on Monday.

Many homes in Regent, on the outskirts of Freetown, were engulfed in the mudslide that hit the city on August 14 after a part of Sugar Loaf mountain collapsed following heavy rain early.

Sierra Leone began a week of mourning on Wednesday after 105 children were among at least 400 people who died in mudslides caused by torrential flooding.

Gaston Slanwa, Tearfund's Country Representative for Sierra Leone said: 'I drove around Freetown yesterday.

Authorities requested air conditioning units to keep the bodies cool but are in need of more protective gear such as masks, aprons, and glove disposal stations, said Idalia Amaya, an emergency relief co-ordinator for Catholic Relief Services. "We are trying to separate, quantify, and examine quickly and then we will issue death certificates before the burial", said Owiz Koroma, head of the morgue, who also estimated the death toll to be in the hundreds.

ActionAid said it had been told that, so far, 3,400 people have been reported missing.

Each person will be buried individually in a dignified manner, said Cornelius Deveaux, deputy minister of information and communications. "One of them took 30 people in his house of three rooms", he added, saying fear of the spread of disease. "Hundreds of people are welcoming those fleeing the landslide into their own houses, and we are looking at opening schools and church buildings to help those who are now homeless".

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The UK has had a strong relationship with Sierra Leone for some years, regularly posting members of DFID and the MoD in the country since British military forces intervened in the civil war in 2000 and following the Ebola crisis in 2014.

According to the ABC news, a woman named, Hawa Stevens, has lost her 28 relatives. she said: "Mother, father, sisters, brothers, cousins all gone".

Distributed by APO on behalf of Kingdom of Belgium - Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation.

Contaminated water and water-logging often lead to potentially deadly diseases like cholera and diarrhea after floods and mudslides.

Bodies have continued to be retrieved from the mud and rubble, but efforts to identify them are proving hard in the chaos.

The prevailing sentiment among those in the disaster areas had shifted from shock and grief to anger at what is an annual problem in Freetown, she said, though never before on this scale.

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