Queen sends message of sympathy after fatal Sierra Leone mudslides
The Queen has sent a message of sympathy to the Sierra Leone president following the devastating mudslides and flooding that have killed more than 300 people in the west African country.
The death toll is expected to rise after mudslides and floodwaters in and around the capital Freetown killed hundreds this week, many of whom were trapped as they slept.
More than 100 children are among the victims and the Red Cross estimates 600 people remain missing.
In her message, sent to President Ernest Bai Koroma, the Queen said: "Prince Philip and I were deeply saddened to learn of the terrible flooding and landslides in Freetown that have led to the deaths of so many people.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with all who have lost loved ones and those whose homes and livelihoods have been affected. Elizabeth R."
The president of Sierra Leone has declared seven days of mourning and reportedly appealed for support from other nations.
Authorities have said more than 300 people were killed in and around Freetown on Monday following heavy rains. Many were trapped under tons of mud as they slept.
Many of the impoverished areas of Sierra Leone's capital are close to sea level and have poor drainage systems, exacerbating flooding during the rainy season.
Freetown is also plagued by unregulated building of large residential houses in hilltop areas.