Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland has expressed her shock and profound sadness following a deadly mudslide and heavy flooding in Sierra Leone.
Part of a hillside collapsed in the town of Regent on the outskirts of the capital, Freetown, on Monday following heavy rain. Hundreds are confirmed dead and many more are reported missing.
The government has established a relief centre with President Ernest Bai Koroma calling a national emergency. In a televised address, he called on Sierra Leoneans to “stand by each other and to help one another”.
In a statement, Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland extended her condolences to the people and government of Sierra Leone and called on Commonwealth governments to aid the relief effort.
She said: “My heart goes out to the victims of this terrible disaster, which has ripped a community apart. Some have lost their home and everything they own, others have lost their closest loved ones. To all those affected: you are part of the Commonwealth family and we share in your pain and grief.”
The Secretary-General continued: “I commend the rescue workers who, in hugely challenging conditions, are searching for survivors and undertaking the grim task of recovering bodies. I call on Commonwealth member states and partners to assist the Sierra Leone government in supporting those impacted, both now and in the weeks and months ahead.”