He runs The Landslide Blog, a site that explains these natural disasters. (Logging was thought to be one possible culprit for the deadly landslide that hit Washington state in 2014.). The mudslide occurred after three days of … (See video of a deadly tsunami triggered by a landslide. The number of victims is huge, and it seems that the country cannot handle it all by itself. Rice In Every Meal. Speaking with The Guardian, a UN official stated that satellite data and drone mapping is being used to predict a second possible mudslide. Explaining the Deadly Sierra Leone Mudslide. Deforestation presents a significant threat to regions prone to mudslides. 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. Comparing photos showing the progression of the slide, he theorized it was highly mobile. As of August 14, 400 people were presumed dead and 600 more were still missing. Rescue workers from the Sierra Leone government and the Red Cross are continuing efforts to help those affected. © 1996-2015 National Geographic Society, © 2015- 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 … 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. Overwhelmed by the scale of Sierra Leone's mudslide, President Ernest Bai Koroma appealed for urgent help from the international community | NewsBytes A CDC country office was established in Sierra Leone in 2015, focusing on global health security and Ebola response. Mudslides with high mobility often look like flash floods in videos, where they can be seen appearing almost instantly. Yet, we have failed to go to the drawing board to find ways to stop these ugly occurrences. Sierra Leone is rich in mineral resources, has since long relied on mining, especially of diamonds, for … 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. 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. Mudslides are naturally occurring disasters with the power to bring about the loss of life, the destruction of property and widespread chaos. A: On August 14, 2017, torrential flooding and mudslides swept through Sierra Leone near the capital, Freetown. The Sierra Leone mudslide seems to be only the latest of a series of catastrophes that have hit the country in the last decade. The World Bank has estimated the total economic loss of this mudslide to be approximately 31.65 million USD. 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. Sierra Leone is listed among countries most prone to experience climate change and natural disasters. This information is shared with social media, sponsorship, analytics, and other vendors or service providers. Over 400 people are confirmed dead and approximately 600 more are missing. … All rights reserved. And now the country has seen one of Africa's worst natural disasters in recent years. 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 … 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. Unlike flood waters, however, mud can be more densely packed with debris and more difficult to swim through. Since 2016, Sierra Leone has continued to experience heavy torrential downpours during the rainy season, causing mudslides and floods – leaving many dead. 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. Slides are also triggered by melting snow or permafrost, and earthquakes. When heavy rainfall falls after a dry period, the ground can become saturated with water. That number is expected to rise as hundreds are missing. Rice is the staple food of Sierra Leone with most local citizens eating it as part … In a dataset of annual precipitation by rainfall, Sierra Leone falls at number 12 globally. Tragically, on August 14th, 2017, the Sugar Loaf Mountain in Freetown, Sierra Leone suffered a massive mudslide. https://www.nationalgeographic.com/news/2017/08/sierra-leone-mudslide-deadly-video-spd.html, See video of a deadly tsunami triggered by a landslide. Figure 1- Map of 2017 Sierra Leone mudslides – areas affected On the morning of August 14, 2017, flooding and landslides severely damaged shops, roads, and homes throughout Freetown, Sierra Leone’s capital city. World Sierra Leone Natural disasters Freetown Just a year after emerging from a devastating Ebola outbreak, Sierra Leone has been devastated by another catastrophe. In some cases, entire families disappeared. This handout picture released on August 14, 2017, by Society 4 Climate Chnage Communication Sierra Leone, shows flooded streets in Regent near Freetown. As the ground oversaturates, the ground becomes waterlogged and loses friction. Figure 1 below shows the areas impacted by this disaster. A 2015 report put out by Bohr Industries noted the company's reluctance to continue development in Freetown. 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.. In the early morning of Aug. 14, a major mudslide hit Mount Sugarloaf, which overlooks the capital city, slicing it in two. At the most basic level, landslides are triggered by gravity, but weather can accelerate and intensify the movement. CDC works closely with Sierra Leone on strengthening laboratory, surveillance, emergency management, and workforce capacity to respond to disease outbreaks. 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. Mudslides and floods have killed more than 450 people in Sierra Leone including more than 150 children. 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. See details. When the ground eventually gives way, mudslides can rapidly speed up and pick up heavy boulders and rocks capable of intense damage. This 11-year civil war resulted in 50,000 deaths and the internal displacement of two million people. 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 … By looking at photos of the mudslide, Petley ascertained that it occurred in a region with deeply weathered soil. This region of Sierra Leone saw more rainfall than what is typically seen during this time of year, meaning the ground was likely oversaturated. The day the mountain fell: Sierra Leone’s mudslide. 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. A civil war that took place from 1991 to 2002 is also a studied cause of deforestation. On the morning of August 14, 2017, significant mudflow events occurred in and around the capital city of Freetown in Sierra Leone. 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. "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. (A mudslide tends to follow a river-like path, while a landslide typically refers to earthen debris falling down a slope.). 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. The population of Regent is ethnically and religiously very diverse. via Reuters TV Reuters / Tuesday, August 15, 2017 The country's official name is the Republic of Sierra Leone. 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. 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