From Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown

Local News
In Sierra Leone, Land Slide Kills 14 off Mountain Cut
Aug 10, 2010, 17:14

Disaster struck at about 11pm on Sunday 8th August 2010 when some dwelling structures caved in after a land slide at Owen Street off Mountain Cut following heavy downpour of rain in the capital of Freetown that lasted for 24 hours, killing 14 people all of them children. The whole community remained awake for the rest of the night as it plunged into chaos and wailing as community youths rushed to rescue victims.

Our reporter who was one of the very first newsmen to alight at the scene at dawn described it as a great loss to families living in a congested environment. He caught up with a survivor who bore the worst brunt of the disaster. A confused, wailing and disenchanted father who identified himself as Mohamed Basma Bangura explained how a landslide brought down a concrete wall from above their ‘Pan Body’ structures below killing those who could not run in time. He said when the wall was falling he heard a loud noise and decided to come out. "As soon as I rushed outside, the wall fell on our houses. "I have lost nine children, three of them people’s children with me for care," he said in sobs, adding that his wife too was seriously injured when running outside. He said at his age, he was hopeless without children. "I am finished, my generation is gone. Where will I start again at my age, all my children are dead," he continued in a wail.

President Ernest Koroma, Father of the Nation, (shown to left) tries to console Mohamed Basma Bangura, a father who lost all nine of his children in yesterday’s Disaster in Freetown

Another victim Madam Emah Kargbo narrated that she was barely rescued by the community youths. "I heard people shouting outside but before I could come out, the house fell on my kid and I. "I tried to pull the child but it was too late, she explained in tears and pain.

The sad and unprecedented incident warranted a governmental visit as the president himself went there to share the grief of the affected community and families. President Ernest Bai Koroma who was accompanied by other state dignitaries including the Minister of Defense, Paolo Conteh, Deputy Health Minister Mohamed Koroma and the Mayor of the Freetown City Council, Herbert George Williams sympathized with the families of the deceased and promised that his government would express further condolence to them.

An emotional President turns his face away in sadness as he could hardly bear to look on as the wailing Mohamed Basma Bangura poured his pains out to the Presidential Entourage

Hon. Mohamed Koroma also on behalf of his ministry and government joined the president to express his heartfelt condolence to the bereaved family. He told them to take heart as all was not lost. He also assured them that government would see how best they could to come to the aid of the deceased families. However, as he noted that it was not the first time such gruesome accidents had resulted from landslides in that area, cautioned residents against unplanned and unsafe constructions on the hill sides.

Similar presence was made by the leadership of opposition SLPP on behalf of party membership and the people of Sierra Leone. Mr. John Oponjo Benjamin who arrived at the scene some few hours later with a modest entourage expressed his deepened sympathy for the poor dead and their families. He said the SLPP joined them in being part of their loss. "This is a national disaster for which we feel deeply moved," the chairman said, adding that his party membership would join supporters nationwide to continue to be with them in the moments of their grief as they were highly considering extending some material gesture to the families.

AIG Chris Charley giving instructions to the SLP and the youth at the scene

Out of the 14 victims all between 5 and 15 years, twelve died under the rubble among who included Mariatu Kamara, Isatu Kamara, Isatu Kamara, Aminata Bangura and Kadiatu Bangura. Basma Bangura 6 and Dauda Bangura 2 died in hospital later.

They were all conveyed to the Connaught Hospital where post mortem was conducted on their remains yesterday. They are expected to be buried today.

BBC Umaru Fofana at the scene preparing to file report

Cross section of sympathizers at the scene of the disaster

Energetic Youths carrying the corpses down street to waiting Police vehicle

Deputy Minister of Health helping President Koroma up the rugged hill

Mr. Mohamed Basma Bangura a survivor who lost Nine 9 children at the disaster crying

one of the surviving mothers who lost 6 of her children in the disaster

President Koroma and Deputy Health Minister Mohamed Koroma strategizing at the scene

President Koroma Chat with FCC Mayor Hebert George Williams after inspecting the disaster scene

Deputy Health Minister Mohamed Koroma explaining to President Ernest Bai Koroma how it all heappened

Minister of Defence Paolo Conteh heading for the disaster site

The Land lord of the house Pa Ahaji Bangura gazing at people with suprises over the disaster

Ernest Bai Koroma leaving the disaster zone

© Copyright 2005, Freetown, Sierra Leone.