FROM FREE TOWN: THE EMOTIONAL NARRATIVE OF THE SIERRA LEONEAN DISASTER

From Free Town: The emotional narrative of the Sierra Leonean disaster

Source: Ghana | Myjoyonline.com | Jerry Tsatro Mordy | Email: jerry.mordy@myjoyonline.com, Twitter: @jerrymordy
Date: 23rd-august-2017 Time:  11:08:37 am

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An amalgamation of flood and mudslide in the Sierra Leonean capital, Free Town, last Monday washed away about 500 lives with more than 600 still missing.

“Meals on stoves, pictures on walls, shoes under beds, flowers in gardens, babies in cots...all gone”, recounted Super Morning Show host, Kojo Yankson, from the Sugar Loaf Mountain, from where the Wednesday edition of the show was broadcast.

The Sugar Loaf Mountain is the area where the flood and mudslide washed away lives; even the lives of those who survived. People were buried alive circa 05:45 on Monday morning while preparing to rise from their bed.

It sent a torrent of water, mud and rocks hurtling down the valley, also crushing houses in two other areas: Kamayama and Kaningo, according to a BBC report.

“When you look at the pile of mud at the bottom of the hill, you can't see evidence of any of the structures that were there before. Not an iron rod, not a pillar. Over a thousand lives, homes, everything buried without ceremony or eulogy,” Kojo narrated.

He said a woman who had an argument with her husband over a housemaid, decided to send the housemaid to the village on Sunday afternoon. She could not return because it was too late. By the time she woke up on Monday morning, her husband and four children had ceased to exist.

According to Kojo, the woman still calls her husband’s phone absent-mindedly every other moment. She is currently receiving counseling.

Mariama, a resident who lost two of her relatives and over a dozen of her friends, told Kojo she still dreams of them.

Giving an account of how nature unleashed pain and agony on the people, the young lady said she was awoken by “the cries of people around”.

“Then we run down to check for our relatives who were living down there and the whole house was covered [buried] in the mud. And I went down there to see the scene and it wasn’t easy. I still dream of them. Every night you sleep you are scared that something may happen to you”.

She praised the government for trying to “help [physically] but emotionally [no because] it’s only God who can help. I don’t feel safe; I just trust God”.

For Jibril, how to pick up the pieces life has left in him could be a delusion because he lost as many as 17 members of his family, including his brother and his wife together with their four children.

Jibril is now listed survivor number 40, living on the support provided by NGOs such as Caritas Freetown and the government. He said the noise came so heavy that he first thought it was “a Russian or American war plane coming down”.

“Then I started shouting that the mountain has (sic) come down on the ground,” he related to Kojo Yankson.

He has been told to relocate to a makeshift camp built for internally displaced persons (IDPs) because, his house has been marked as being too close to the scene of the incident.

Listen to some survivors share their pain and sorrow with Kojo Yankson who is Sierra Leone:

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