Manga is far from alone. According to the latest death toll, 499 people, including more than 150 children, were killed in the Recent mudslide. Hundreds more remain missing, and relatives are losing hope that their loved ones will be found alive. Hawa Marah and her grandson. She lost three of her five children, and her home in the disaster and doesn’t know where she and her family will live going forward. Mariama, 23, sits across the street from Manga’s home, outside the small building where she and some 50 other women and children are sheltering, clutching a photograph of her five-month-old niece Mariatu. Mariatu and her mother, Koroma’s older sister Fanta, 35, have been missing since a tide of sodden red earth swept away their home. The family has been unable to find any sign of them where their house used to stand. “When I go there, I didn’t see her house. We’ve driven everywhere and we can’t find her body,” she says. “The bodies are under there. My mother is now unconscious. I’m worried that she will not make it.” Inside the dark, cramped shelter, Wuiatu Kondeh sits on a still-wrapped mattress. Clutching her two-year-old daughter, she weeps as she tells of how she escaped from the mudslide, only to realize she couldn’t find her husband, Lansana, 25, a motorbike taxi driver. Wuiatu Kondeh weeps while holding her daughter Antoinette. She lost her husband, uncle, sister, and her sister’s children in the mudslide. “We saw the hill coming down and we ran away,” she says, remembering fragments and details of that day. “Someone carried my child. I didn’t have my slippers.” “Later, I looked for my husband and I didn’t see him,” she says, sobbing quietly, her face etched with pain. “I didn’t see my uncle … my sister, she lost two of her children. I didn’t see her again.” Kondeh and her husband had only moved to the Mount Sugar Loaf area in June, after saving up to rent a home there. With that home destroyed, she and her baby daughter are left to sleep on the floor of this shared building. Outside, the search continues, with rescue workers digging through the dirt for bodies, the stench of decomposing remains hanging in the air.
- THE DECADE