Early in the morning of August 14th, 2017, three days of torrential rainfall and flooding unleashed devastating mudslides which came crashing into Sierra Leone’s capital city, Freetown. Heavy rainfall continued throughout the country during an especially wet rainy season, bringing what is considered one of the worst natural disasters in decades to this tropical, coastal, West African nation. 41 inches of rainfall since July 1st in the western area of Sierra Leone nearly tripled the region’s seasonal average.
A number of factors, including the city’s sea level and below elevation, poor infrastructure, and ineffective drainage systems exacerbated the mudslides’ destructive impact. As of October 13th, the number of confirmed deaths was over 500, with 800 still missing and likewise, feared dead. The ferocious mudslides damaged or destroyed hundreds of buildings and left more than 3,000 homeless.
Christians in Action Missionaries, Reverend Issa and Daphne Kargbo, live in Freetown. At the time of the mudslide and flooding they were in the US enjoying a much needed furlough. News of this disaster was devastating as they felt helpless from afar. Meanwhile, Pastor Daniel Bona was acting on their behalf and kept the Kargbo’s updated on the situation in Sierra Leone. Pastor Bona reported 20 of their church members’ relatives perished in the mudslides. So devastating that some still have not been recovered.
The continuing torrential rains swept away and crushed everything in its path. Less than two weeks after the initial flooding commenced, while gathering in a Sierra Leonian Christians in Action church to mourn the loss of one of their own, the persistent heavy rains trapped all mourners for more than three hours while several of their cars, parked outside the church, were swept away and mangled by the crushing flood waters. Inconceivably, a little girl lost her life as she slipped from her mother’s hand and was swept away in the rapidly flowing water.
Reverend Issa and Daphne arrived back home in Freetown on September 15th. They ask for your continued prayers for the families who lost loved ones as well as their homes and possessions. They also ask for prayer for those who have responded to the call to conduct the necessary search and recovery of the bodies of the deceased. They are facing great needs of food, clothing, shelter, and medical supplies.
Issa writes: “God is good; and all time, He is good. We don’t understand why this took place, but in the good times and in the bad times, we will continue to lift up His name and trust in Him. In everything we are commanded to give thanks, so we say Thank you Lord!”