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WEATHER REPORT
312 dead as mudslides, flooding sweep through Sierra Leone capital
By Saidu Bah
Freetown (AFP) Aug 14, 2017


Two teen campers among 5 dead as storms ravage Poland
Warsaw (AFP) Aug 12, 2017 - Five people including two teenage Girl Guides at a campground died in freak accidents on Saturday when violent storms hit Poland in the grip of a heatwave, fire officials and police said.

The two girls, aged 13 and 14, were crushed by falling trees while sleeping in a tent.

Around 20 other children were injured when the storm hit the campground for Boy Scouts and Girl Guides hosting 140 youngsters in the northern village of Suszek.

It took hours for firefighters to clear away trees and other debris from access roads before they could reach and evacuate the scouts from the camp pitched in a forest flattened by violent wind.

"We were really scared and we just stayed put until all the trees came down," a boy scout who was not named told the TVN24 news channel.

Aerial television footage showed trees in vast swathes of forest snapped like matchsticks by raging winds that meteorologists said were hurricane-force.

Elsewhere a woman died when a tree fell on her house in the northern village of Konarzyny, while a man sleeping in a tent in a nearby village also perished after being hit by tree brought down by high winds.

Authorities in the same region also confirmed the death of a fifth victim, a 48-year-old man, crushed by a tree.

Thirty-seven people were reported injured nationwide while power was intially cut to around half a million homes and businesses as violent winds downed trees and ripped off roofs in northern, western and southern regions.

Winds even blew off part of a reinforced concrete roof from a multi-family block of flats in the central city of Gniezno, TVN24 reported.

Poland's Prime Minister Beata Szydlo promised financial aid for the hardest hit municipalities after meeting with a crisis unit coordinating the emergency response from the Baltic port city of Gdansk.

An unusual heatwave saw peak temperatures soar to more than 30 degrees Celsius (around 100 Farenheit) across Poland in recent days, but milder weather is expected this weekend when the mercury is forecast to dip to the mid-20s in most regions.

More hot weather and storms are however forecast for eastern regions on Poland's border with Belarus.

At least 312 people were killed and more than 2,000 left homeless on Monday when heavy flooding hit Sierra Leone's capital of Freetown, leaving excavators to pull bodies from rubble and overwhelming the city's morgues.

An AFP journalist saw several homes submerged in Regent village, a hilltop community, and corpses floating in the water in the Lumley West area of the city, as the government held an emergency meeting to plan its response to one of the worst natural disasters ever to hit the city.

Red Cross spokesman Patrick Massaquoi told AFP the death toll was 312 but could rise further as his team continued to survey disaster areas in Freetown and tally the number of dead.

Sierra Leone is one of the poorest countries in the world, according to UN indicators.

"I counted over 300 bodies and more are coming," Mohamed Sinneh, a morgue technician at Freetown's Connaught Hospital, told AFP, having earlier described an "overwhelming number of dead" at the facility leaving no space to lay out every body.

Many more of the dead were taken to private morgues, Sinneh said.

Sierra Leone's military, police and Red Cross volunteers were meanwhile deployed in an all out effort to locate and rescue citizens trapped in their homes or under rubble.

Images obtained by AFP showed ferocious, churning dark-orange mud coursing down a steep street in the capital, while videos posted by local residents showed people waist- or chest-deep in water trying to cross the road.

The Sierra Leone meteorological department did not issue any warning ahead of the torrential rains to hasten evacuation from the disaster zones, AFP's correspondent based in Freetown said.

- 'Lost everything' -

Fatmata Sesay, who lives on the hilltop area of Juba, said she, her three children and husband were awoken at 4:30 am by rain pounding on the mud house they occupy, which was by then submerged by water.

"I only managed to escape by climbing to the roof of the house when neighbours came in to rescue me," she said.

"We have lost everything and we do not have a place to sleep," she told AFP in tears.

Deputy Information Minister Cornelius Deveaux confirmed President Ernest Bai Koroma had called a national emergency, and said his own boss, Information Minister Mohamed Bangura, was in hospital after being injured in the flooding.

Deveaux said "hundreds" of people had lost their lives and had properties damaged, and promised food and other assistance for the victims.

He called on the public to remain calm with rescue efforts underway.

- Piles of corpses -

The scale of the human cost of the floods was only becoming clear on Monday afternoon, as images of battered corpses piled on top of each other circulated and residents spoke of their struggles to cope with the destruction and find their loved ones.

Meanwhile disaster management official Vandy Rogers said that "over 2,000 people are homeless," hinting at the huge humanitarian effort that will be required to deal with the fallout of the flooding in one of Africa's poorest nations.

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

Sasha Ekanayake, Save the Children's Sierra Leone Country Director, said the immediate priority was to provide shelter and protect residents, especially children, from the spread of deadly waterborne diseases.

"We are still in the rainy season and must be prepared to respond in the event of further emergencies to come," she said in a statement.

Flooding in the capital in 2015 killed 10 people and left thousands homeless.

Sierra Leone was one of the west African nations hit by an outbreak of the Ebola virus in 2014 that left more than 4,000 people dead in the country, and it has struggled to revive its economy since the crisis.

About 60 percent of people in Sierra Leone live below the national poverty line, according to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

The country ranked 179th out of 188 countries on the UNDP's 2016 Human Development Index, a basket of data combining life expectancy, education and income and other factors.

WEATHER REPORT
Landslide in southwest China kills eight, 17 missing
Beijing (AFP) Aug 8, 2017
A landslide triggered by heavy rain killed eight people and left 17 others missing in China's mountainous southwestern province of Sichuan on Tuesday, state media reported. Extreme weather this summer has caused a series of landslides and floods across the country, leaving dozens dead and displacing large numbers of people. The latest disaster hit a village in Puge county at around 6 am, ... read more

Related Links
Weather News at TerraDaily.com


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