Britain to donate £5 million for Sierra Leone mudslide victims

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LEONE-MUDSLIDE/

Britain will offer £5 million to help the victims of devastating mudslides and flooding in Sierra Leone, International Development Secretary Priti Patel has said.

Ms Patel vowed to stand "shoulder to shoulder" with the West African nation, where more than 350 people are believe to have died since the flooding struck on Monday following torrential rains in and around the capital, Freetown.

Some 600 people are still estimated to be missing while 3,000 people have been left homeless by the disaster, according to the Red Cross charity.

Announcing new funding to boost access to clean drinking water, medicines and sanitation facilities for thousands of people, Ms Patel called on other world leaders to "step up to the plate" to help the rescue efforts.

She said: "This tragedy comes shortly after the Ebola crisis which Sierra Leone has worked so hard to recover from.

"Britain was at the forefront in tackling that deadly disease and we remain shoulder to shoulder with Sierra Leone today after these devastating events.

"The UK was among the first to respond to this emergency, with personnel at the scene within just hours of the landslide to help co-ordinate the emergency response.

"Our new support will provide basic life-saving supplies like food, water, shelter and clothing to people who have lost everything. The international community must follow our lead and step up to the plate."

Some of the poorest areas of Freetown are close to sea level and served by weak drainage systems, exacerbating flooding during the rainy season.

Concerns have been raised over a potential cholera outbreak due to the contaminated water in the streets.