BREAKING — More than 300 people have been killed after a mudslide and heavy flooding in Sierra Leone.

Relatives were left digging through mud in search of their loved-ones, as a mortuary in the capital of Freetown was overflowing with dead bodies.

Bodies were spread out on the floor of a morgue, Sinneh Kamara, a coroner technician at the Connaught Hospital mortuary, told the national broadcaster.

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“The capacity at the mortuary is too small for the corpses,” he told the Sierra Leone National Broadcasting Corp.

The Red Cross said the death toll had risen to 312.

Houses were submerged in mud after a night of heavy rain that saw a hillside in the Regent area collapse, with roads described by witnesses as being turned into “churning rivers of mud”.

The Telegraph reports that an estimated 2,000 people have also been made homeless after heavy rains caused properties to disappear under water.

Speaking at the scene, Sierra Leone’s Vice President, Victor Foh, said: “It is likely that hundreds are lying dead underneath the rubble.”

He added: “The disaster is so serious that I myself feel broken. We’re trying to cordon (off) the area (and) evacuate the people.”

People cried as they looked at the damage under steady rain, gesturing towards a muddy hillside where dozens of houses used to stand.

Sierra Leone’s national television broadcaster interrupted its regular programming to show scenes of people trying to retrieve the bodies of loved-ones. Others were seen carrying relatives’ remains in rice sacks to the mortuary.

Military personnel have been deployed to help in the rescue operation in the West African country.

Fatmata Sesay – who lives on the hilltop area of Juba – said she, her three children and husband were woken at 4.30am by rain beating down on their mud house, which was by then submerged by water. She managed to escape by climbing onto the roof.

“We have lost everything and we do not have a place to sleep,” she told AFP.

Freetown, an overcrowded coastal city of 1.2 million, is hit annually by flooding during several months of rain that destroys makeshift settlements and raises the risk of waterborne diseases such as cholera.

Many of the impoverished areas are close to sea level and have poor drainage systems, exacerbating flooding during the country’s rainy season.

God Bless.

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