FREETOWN, Sierra Leone (AP) — Sierra Leone's government urged family members to come to the capital's overwhelmed mortuary Wednesday to identify their loved one's remains as the country prepared to bury hundreds of mudslide and flood victims.
Meanwhile, crews continued the grim work of extracting bodies from debris after fierce storms left impoverished, low-lying areas of Freetown buried in mud from the city's hilltops.
More than 300 people are confirmed dead — a third of them children — and Red Cross officials estimate some 600 others remain missing 48 hours after the storm hit.
President Ernest Bai Koroma's office asked relatives to come to the city's morgue Wednesday, saying that all unidentified corpses will be given a "dignified burial" in the coming days.
Volunteers have been digging with pick axes and at times only their hands.Comment on this story
Brima Mundeh, 40, fears that three of his missing family members are buried under the mud unleashed by the storm at 6:30 a.m. Monday. Three more relatives are already confirmed dead though he did manage to escape with his two children.
"I can't describe the magic that took me and my family out of my house . but I believe it's the work of God 'cause I don't know where the strength and power came from to get us out."
Associated Press journalist Alhaji Manika Kamara in Freetown contributed.