FREE TOWN AUGUST 22, 2017(CISA)-Catholic Bishops Conference of Sierra Leone (CBCS) has condoled with the families of the recent floods, landslides and mudslides disaster in the nation’s capital, Freetown.
“We, the Catholic Bishops of Sierra Leone, wish to add our voice in extending heartfelt and sincere condolences to President Ernest Bai Koroma, the President of the Republic of Sierra Leone, and his Government, the People and Citizens of a nation in mourning, and to families and relatives who have lost their loved ones during these days of flooding, landslide and mudslides in Freetown,” said Bishop Charles Allieu Matthew Campbell, chairman of the bishops’ Conference in a statement August 21.
“We express our sentiments of consolation and hope to all during this challenging period in our nation’s history,” they added.
The bishops noted that the Holy Father, Pope Francis, too has been praying for Sierra Leone and “has assured us of his spiritual closeness at this time of terrible natural disaster.”
The bishops said that the time for implementing Pope Francis encyclical, Laudato Sì, on conservation of nature and to leave at peace with nature had come and the nation must heed to it.
“The encyclical of Pope Francis, Laudato Si’, compels our collective consciences to foster true ecological conversion and to live at peace with nature. Sierra Leoneans have the responsibility to care for ‘our common home.’ We cannot waver; now is the time to take this road!” the bishops said.
According to the Red Cross, the latest death toll now stands at more than 500. It is bound to rise as there are still hundreds of missing persons.
The mudslide took place in the mountain town of Regent August 17, on the outskirts of Freetown. Entire informal settlements were wiped out overnight. There is now urgent need of food, shelter, clean water, sanitation and healthcare.
On Sunday, August 20 the Sierra Leone Inter-Religious Council held special prayer services in memory of those killed in the mudslide and flooding. The Council also organised special prayers and recitals in Mosques on Friday August 18.
Sierra Leone’s President Ernest Koroma has since declared seven days of mourning in the country and appealed for help.