A search and rescue mission that had been carried out since heavy rains triggered the collapse of a hillside and caused muddy rivers to flow through the streets of Freetown, the capital, has now all but turned into an effort to recover bodies, emergency responders and aid groups said.

More than 600 people are believed to be missing, with many still trapped under tons of mud that some residents, facing a shortage of heavy equipment, took to digging through with their bare hands. Sierra Leone’s ministry of health and other groups leading the search called on Friday for more volunteers to help find victims.

Sierra Leone, Natural Disaster, Mudslide, Freetown, KOLUMN Magazine, KOLUMNJane Hahn for The New York Times | Photo Credit

Sierra Leone, Natural Disaster, Mudslide, Freetown, KOLUMN Magazine, KOLUMNJane Hahn for The New York Times | Photo Credit

Sierra Leone, Natural Disaster, Mudslide, Freetown, KOLUMN Magazine, KOLUMNJane Hahn for The New York Times | Photo Credit

Sierra Leone, Natural Disaster, Mudslide, Freetown, KOLUMN Magazine, KOLUMNJane Hahn for The New York Times | Photo Credit

Sierra Leone, Natural Disaster, Mudslide, Freetown, KOLUMN Magazine, KOLUMN

Sierra Leone, Natural Disaster, Mudslide, Freetown, KOLUMN Magazine, KOLUMNREUTERS/Afolabi Sotund | Photo Credit

Sierra Leone, Natural Disaster, Mudslide, Freetown, KOLUMN Magazine, KOLUMNJane Hahn for The New York Times | Photo Credit


SIERRA LEONE | OFFICIALLY, REPUBLIC OF SIERRA LEONE

Sierra Leone, officially the Republic of Sierra Leone, is a country in West Africa. It is bordered by Guinea to the north-east, Liberia to the south-east, and the Atlantic Ocean to the south-west. Sierra Leone has a tropical climate, with a diverse environment ranging from savannah to rainforests. The country has a total area of 71,740 km2 (27,699 sq mi) and a population of 7,075,641 (based on 2015 national census). It is a constitutional republic with a directly elected president and a unicameral legislature.

Sierra Leone is made up of five administrative regions: the Northern Province, Northwestern Province, Eastern Province, Southern Province and the Western Area, which are subdivided into sixteen districts. Each district has its own directly elected local government. Freetown (population 1,050,301), located in the Western Area, is Sierra Leone’s capital, largest city and its economic centre. Kenema (population 200,354) is Sierra Leone second largest city, and is about 200 miles from Freetown, in the Eastern province of the country, Other major cities in Sierra Leone are Bo, Koidu Town and Makeni.

Sierra Leone became independent from the United Kingdom on 27 April 1961 led by Sir Milton Margai. The current constitution of Sierra Leone was adopted in 1991, though it has been amended several times. Since independence to present, Sierra Leonean politics has been dominated by two major political parties; the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) and the All People’s Congress (APC). (Wikipedia).


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