Widespread destruction and loss of life in Freetown as heavy rains take its toll

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 29 August 2022:

At least six people are known to have died in Freetown after heavy rains yesterday Sunday, August 28th, 2022. Thousands of people living in hilltop communities as well as low-lying areas have been displaced.

Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leone has become a disaster-prone area, due to environmental degradation as people cut down trees to make way for unsustainable housing settlements on hills and valleys.

Most of the major roads in Freetown were transformed to heavy flowing rivers after several hours of rainfall, posing serious threats to life and property.

Although the country’s Met Office and the Freetown City Council had issued warnings of impending catastrophe, few had paid attention to the dangers of blocked drains, tree-felling, and overpopulation in Freetown.

Yesterday evening, the Office of National Security issued a dire report of flash floods and landslides in several communities in the Western Area.

It said that “in Kanikay, Culvert, Kaningo and Tengbeh Town, some houses and major roads are reportedly flooded leaving residents trapped in the raging waters and their properties destroyed.  In Looking Town at Kissy, there was a landslide that covered two houses and some people are reportedly trapped in the rubble. Residents in the community managed to remove five people from the rubble. Four of them had died and a child (aged 7) was rescued alive and taken to the Rokupa Government Hospital.

“In Brook Street, a perimeter fence collapsed on a building which left some people trapped in the building.  In Cassava Farm on Leicester Road, a building collapsed due to the torrential rain. On Bai Bureh Road by Bumeh Landfill, a big tree has fallen down barricading the main street. This has prevented vehicular movements and poses threats to pedestrians.”

On 14th August 2017, over one thousand people were killed in Freetown and thousands more left homeless, when heavy rains caused a major landslide, destroying everything in its path.  There are fears no lessons have been learnt, and that current government policy is stoking up even worse disasters to come.


  1. Freetown, has become a disaster-prone area, due to environmental degradation as people cut down trees to make way for unsustainable housing settlements on hills and valleys. So true

  2. Congratulations to Sierra Leone Telegraph and the editor for attracting a diverse readership. The BBC is now referencing this media outlet.

    “Six deaths after Sierra Leone flash floods – report

    BBC Monitoring

    The world through its media

    At least six people have been killed after torrential rains caused flash floods and landslides in parts of Sierra Leone’s capital Freetown, privately-owned Sierra Leone Telegraph website reported.

    The six, including a family of three, were killed after a mudslide destroyed two homes in an informal settlement in Looking Town, situated on a steep slope above the Kissy neighbourhood.

    Freetown Mayor, Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr, visited areas affected by the heavy rains and urged those affected to move to safe grounds.

    “Like many other informal settlements, there is no road to the community, it is accessed via a 15-minute walk along a narrow footpath. As I spoke with survivors and neighbours, I could clearly see a huge boulder positioned precariously above the community. A poignant reminder of the risk of disaster this community lives with daily,” the website quoted Ms Aki-Sawyerr as saying.

    She thanked the different agencies that came to the aid of the affected residents.

    Reports on social media say the landslide swept away houses in Looking Town, while in Tengbeh Town, Kanikay and Kaningo, homes were submerged in water and roadways became flowing rivers.

    This is the second spate of heavy rains in Freetown in the last two weeks.”

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