Muritala Bakare

(JollofNews) – The government of Sierra Leone and its international partners are in a race to avoid an outbreak of any disease in the aftermath of the mudslide that has claimed the lives of hundreds of people. The West African nation has just recovered from deadly Ebola disease that claimed scores of life and there are growing concerns that disease such as cholera could breakout if authorities don’t act fast especially as dead bodies were reported to have littered the streets.

On Monday, the people of Regent in the outskirt of Freetown woke up to a heavy rain that caused flooding and eventually resulted in the collapse of a hillside mountain that buried homes and roads. Rescue efforts are still ongoing and the authorities said about 400 bodies had been recovered while “270 corpses are being prepared for burial”, stated the Freetown’s mayor, Sam Gibson.

However, there are still fears of widespread disease breaking out as recovery of dead bodies is a painstaking process. The head of the Office of National Security, Ishmael Tarawali said that the identity of the bodies would commence immediately. He said: “The hospital mortuary is overwhelmed right now and it is really our only option.

“We’re hoping to organise as well as we can to get every last person identified, but it’s a complicated process,”

Alex Carle, director of international programmes at the British Red Cross said “The city’s drainage system has been overloaded by the torrential rains, leaving stagnant water in some areas.

“The spread of diseases such as cholera, typhoid and diarrhoea following flooding is also a huge concern”.” he added.

Sorie Bangura, a resident of Freetown said: “There are dead everywhere and people don’t know where to go. There are only so many houses still standing and we can’t take in everybody. What we need is help from the international community. People need shelter, clothes, anything. This is the rainy season and it might only get worse. There must be a way to stop this from happening but nobody seems to know how. I’m scared for my life because it could be my family next.”

There are further signs of more rains to come and fear of hanging debris falling from the mudslide is a major concern. The government has declared seven days of mourning as it continues to strengthen its rescue efforts with its international partners.