Sierra Leone’s President Ernest Bai Koroma has declared seven days of mourning across the country with immediate effect, the media reported.
The President made the announcement on Tuesday after a devastating mudslide early Monday killed nearly 300 people on the outskirts of capital city Freetown, Xinhua news agency reported.
According to a statement from the Office of the President, the national mourning will start from August 16-22, during which period all flags would be flown at half mast.
The general public is also requested to observe a minute of silence at 12 pm on Wednesday, the statement said.
“The President has further decided to invoke MAC-C (Military Aid to Civil Community) and to raise the national security threat level to level 3 in direct response to the unfolding emergency situation,” the statement said.
Deputy Minister of Information and Communication Cornnelius Deveaux told journalists earlier Tuesday in an emergency press briefing that the total number of deaths reported at the Connaught Hospital is 297, including 109 children, 83 women and 105 men.
He said the search to identify corpses and possible survivors is still in progress as hundreds more are feared to remain missing after the mudslide hit.