- Severe floods that hit Sierra Leone's capital, Freetown, left over 1000 people homeless after five hours of torrential rains, meteorologists have said.
According to local media reports, thousands were yesterday stranded after violent rains washed away small huts made of corroded zinc, corrugated sheet or tarpaulin in Freetown's overcrowded slums of Kroo Bay, with some houses submerged by over a meter depth of water.
"It is probably the heaviest downpour since the start of rainy seasonin May,” meteorologist John Koroma said of late Thursday's storm.
He said rain caused huge traffic jams throughout the city and forced businesses and markets to close. "Houses around city's waterfront were hardest hit. At the slum community of Kroo Bay, in the city's central district, occupants abandoned their houses to seek shelter on higher ground," he said.
A senior engineer observed that year in year out the pig infested settlement suffers from similar disaster but government was doing little or nothing to solve the problem.
"They could be resettled into other areas preferably Jui or anywhere after there. The government should redesign the flood prone area of Kroo Bay and prevent people from residing there before we lose many lives and property some day," he said.
One of the victims of floods, Musu Sesay who was soaking wet and shivering from the cold said: "It is as if the world was coming to an end with all this water," she told local media.
Shaking her head in disbelief she was wondering where so much water could come from when everybody seemed to be talking about a water shortage.
A middle aged woman Mahawa Kanu told a local media, Concord Times that situation at the centre was already terrible before the four hour rains could cease.
"People could not use the toilet and children were asked to defecate wherever they were for fear that water could sweep them along. My family and I have come here to seek refuge. As you can see we are over three hundred here," Ms Kanu said.
However, one child was already feared missing. Ms Kanu said her neighbour's child could not be found after heavy down pour but that able bodied men were already out to confirm the perceived loss.
Relief workers from ministry of health and city council were also out in large numbers to clear debris while humanitarian organisations sent officials to assist victims.
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