People & Power

Geo-politics, global, national and local influence. This section is dedicated to monitoring the role of the political class and influential citizens in shaping policies that affect the future of Africa.

Mudslides in Sierra Leone’s capital has killed over 300 people

A hillside in the Regent area—an outskirt of Freetown, Sierra Leone’s capital— collapsed following heavy rains leaving many houses completely covered in mud, trapping many others in their homes and leaving 312 dead. People were seen waist deep trying to navigate the floods.

What could be done to prevent mudslides? Most mudslides are natural while others are caused my man’s careless land modification and careless land construction, and not much can be done to prevent mudslides, but a lot can be done to reduce the death toll and prevent much valuables from damaging. Proper drainage systems can exacerbate flooding during rainy season. If there are wide drainage systems with a water channel, these floods and rains have a direction and it would hardly flow to the street, causing as much damage as it does.

Secondly with proper housing plans, the casualties would reduce to a large extent. With proper research, the government should be able to detect flood and natural disaster-prone areas and people should build their house based on these data.

Sierra Leone is extremely vulnerable to the impacts of global climate and flooding is not unusual. Freetown, an overcrowded coastal city of 1.2 million, is hit annually by flooding during several months of rain and these rains destroys makeshift settlement Houses regularly sweeping them away. In September 2015, Sierra Leone’s capital encountered its most devastating floods recorded, floods sparked by monsoon rains which killing 10 people and temporarily rendering almost 5,000 people homeless, damaging properties and causing substantial impacts on local livelihoods.

Mud slides are triggered by different factors, according to former applied geology professor Marcos Zentilli, most mudslide happen on a slope, and the primary factors of mud slides are prolonged rains; the soil becomes unstable when it becomes waterlogged making it difficult to drain or absorb the water.