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Sierra Leone mudslide survivors live in fear of fresh disaster

Sierra Leone mudslide survivors live in fear of fresh disaster

by Nicky Milne

Kadiatu Koroma only narrowly escaped the mudslide that engulfed her home in Sierra Leone's ramshackle capital last August, killing an estimated 1,000 people in one of the worst flooding-related disasters to hit Africa in living memory.

Koroma had already left for work when tons of mud and rocks crashed down onto her poor community in the shadow of Freetown's Mount Sugar Loaf, killing her sister and her newborn baby.

Like many in the poor West African nation, she had no choice but to live in a place where experts had long warned that deforestation and rampant construction could bring disaster - and where many fear it could happen again as heavy rains become more severe due to climate change.

"Who would live in an area that is disaster prone if they knew and valued their life?" she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation in a camp for homeless victims of the disaster.

"We had no idea, we have no choice."

Originally built for 400,000 residents, Freetown has mushroomed since Sierra Leone won independence from Britain in 1961, and is now home to an estimated 2 million people.

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