United Nations agencies rush aid to flood-hit Sierra Leone

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The magnitude of damage caused by a mudslide and floods that killed hundreds of people in Sierra Leone was due to the government's failure to implement housing and environmental policies, Amnesty International said Thursday.

According to United Nations estimates, more than 600 people are still unaccounted for following the mudslides, and a representative said Wednesday the organization is losing hope they will be found.

"GIGS extends our honest condolences to the government, families and victims of the disaster, and believe that Ghanaians would respond to their call for aid".

Ghana has mobilized relief items valued at one million USA dollars for victims of the flood and mudslide disaster in Sierra Leone, the government announced on Friday.

Military personnel have been deployed to help with the operation in the impoverished West African nation.

GIGS believes humanitarian support for the country will go a long way to protect the lives of the survivors of the mudslide and the victims of the flooding.

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Adding to the danger, the Office of National Security, which is coordinating the government's response, was informed that a mountain which partially collapsed on Monday had cracked at another point.

Idalia Amaya, emergency response coordinator for Catholic Relief Services in Freetown, said some families hit by Ebola would now be burying loved ones killed in the floods. Rainfall was forecasted for the coming days, slowing recovery efforts and bringing the threat of further mudslides.

"We are launching this appeal to raise funds and working with our partner charities, the Hastings Association Sierra Leone and Hastings Association UK to identify what is urgently needed be it food aid, medical aid or shelter and clothing".

"We are also trying in our own small way to put together a package", Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister, Charles Owiredu said after contacting NADMO officials and the Finance Ministry.

Some critics accused the government of not learning from past disasters in a city where many poor areas are near sea level and lack good drainage. Citizens and experts alike have questioned why the government has not done more to tackle illegal construction and deforestation on the outskirts of the overcrowded capital of Freetown.

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