Baptists in Sierra Leone tragedy
More than 80 Baptists are among the nearly 500 who have died due to landslides and severe flooding in the West African country of Sierra Leone, reports the Baptist World Alliance (BWA). More than 600 people remain missing.
One of Africa's worst flooding-related disasters in years occurred on August 14 when the side of Mount Sugar Loaf collapsed after heavy rain, burying parts of Regent, a town on the outskirts of the capital, Freetown.
More than 3,000 people were left homeless and hundreds of buildings were damaged or destroyed by the mudslides.
Samuel Conteh, coordinator- of the Social Ministry Department of the Baptist Convention of Sierra Leone (BCSL) said 'the mudslide was triggered by a heavy down pour of continuous rainfall that destroyed part of the mountain and as the water flowed down the hill, trees and other stones were carried along.'
Conteh told the Baptist World Alliance that 'within less than 24 hours, greater parts of the Western and Central part of the city (where a majority of Baptist Churches are located) were seriously affected, as a result of huge quantities water.'
He said 60 members of Bethany Baptist Church in West Freetown have died. Hillside Baptist Church in Central West Freetown lost two members.
Brickson Sam, former pastor of Victory Baptist Church in Freetown, who now resides in the United States, reported that about 20 members of that congregation lost their lives.
Almost 400 Baptist households have been affected by the disaster. About 25 houses for members of Awesome Praise Baptist Church were destroyed, 13 for members of the Hillside Baptist Church and four from the Bethany Baptist Church.
'Some BCSL leaders and volunteers have visited the area to take inventory of those affected to see what can be done to help them,' Conteh said.
Donations may be made at www.bwanet.org/online-giving or sent to:
Baptist World Aid
Baptist World Alliance
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Falls Church, VA 22046