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312 people killed in Sierra Leone mudslide

DEVESTATION: Freetown

AT LEAST 312 people have been killed in a mudslide near Sierra Leone's capital, Freetown, the Red Cross says.

A hillside in the Regent area collapsed early on Monday (August 14) following heavy rains, leaving many houses covered in mud.

Sierra Leone's Vice-President Victor Bockarie Foh said it was "likely that hundreds are lying dead". The total number of casualties is likely to rise.

Foh told Reuters news agency that the disaster was "so serious that I myself feel broken". He said that the area was being cordoned off as people were being evacuated, including many still feared trapped in their homes.

A spokesman for the Red Cross, Abu Bakarr Tarawallie, told the same news agency that 179 bodies had been taken to the central morgue in Freetown.

Emergency services are at the scene trying to rescue people trapped in their homes after a section of a hill collapsed, the Sierra Leone Telegraph reports.

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