The Queen and Prince Philip have led condolences for the people of Sierra Leone following a devastating mudslide and flooding in the country which is known to have killed 400 people.
An estimated 600 people are missing, and search & rescue efforts are still being carried out by authorities for survivors.
In a statement, 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,” Queen Elizabeth wrote in a message to the president of Sierra Leone.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with all who have lost loved ones and those whose homes and livelihoods have been affected.”
Sierra Leone is one of Africa’s poorest countries, and the infrastructure is weak making the recovery operation a lot more challenging.
The search for survivors is taking place using diggers and other makeshift tools.
Just recently, the country’s infrastructure was further devastated by the outbreak of the Ebola virus in West Africa. Between 2013 and 2016, 4000 people died from the virus in Sierra Leone – which accounts for over a third of total worldwide fatalities.
The EU has pledged 300,000 euros (£270,000) to relief efforts, with Carlos Martin Ruiz De Gordejuela of the European Commission saying the funds would go to humanitarian organisations which will ensure those get the money who are most in need.
Mass burials for the victims are taking place on the outskirts of Sierra Leone’s capital, Freetown, as mortuaries become overwhelmed with the number of fatalities.
Over 100 of the deceased who have arrived at the mortuaries are known to be children.
The next big concern for the country is the outbreak of disease due to poor sanitary conditions in the mortuaries.