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  • Sierra Leone: Freetown flood disaster was '90 percent man-made'

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Sierra Leone: Freetown flood disaster was '90 percent man-made'

Source(s):  Al Jazeera Satellite Network

By Lilah Gaafar


The official death toll from the mudslides and flooding three months ago was around 500 people, but estimates said that it was likely some 1,000 people perished.

It was not the first time Sierra Leoneans witnessed such dramatic events. With annual rainfall of 3,600 litres, natural disasters have plagued the country for years. But previous floods have had less impact.

This time, preventable human causes are being blamed.

The mudslide that devastated the mountain town of Regent was the result of heavy rainfall, urban sprawl and soil erosion due to deforestation.


"This disaster was 90 percent man-made. There were trees along 80 percent of the river and hardly anybody lived there. Thirty years ago, no one would have been killed," says Thorsten Kallnischkies, a geologist seconded to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) office in Sierra Leone.

"The only way to avoid this in future is through raising awareness among the communities - how to build and where to build," he says. "Administration and government must enforce laws to avoid future fatalities."



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  • Publication date 14 Nov 2017

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