It was exactly 4 a.m Monday, 14th August that Sierra Leoneans were woken up by a presumed landslide disaster, which no doubt has left over a thousand of blameless lives dead, with houses likewise covered underneath the surface of the earth.
Eyewitness account claimed that the slide occurred shortly after a mountain at Sugarloaf fell on houses at Prince Allieu Drive in the Matormeh Community, killing over a thousand owing to heavy downpour of rain.
Messeh Sesay, a survivor and resident of Matormeh Community claimed she was up from bed at about 4a.m and was to catch a taxi for her usual business trips to Doves Cot, east of the capital Freetown, but was caught up by running water following serious rainstorm.
This, she said, left her without option but to return to her house, to allow the running water reduces.
“On getting home, I heard a big sound from the top of the mountain, and later saw debris moving as if a landslide, down to the slope and incidentally covered number of houses, killing over a thousand or so,” Messeh said.
Others say hundreds of houses including ones owned by ministers and distinguished public officers fell beneath the earth resulting in the loss of lives of family members.
It is true Mount Sugarloaf is a forest reserve and was preserved to prevent climate disasters such as landslide (as has happened now) from happening and was used as water catchment by Guma Valley.
For years, there have been calls by experts for government not to sell lands or allow people live in forest reserve areas, but all went in deaf ears.
This was so, because governments past and present have had enjoying moments offering lands marked as preserved areas to the electorates, to lure them for their votes.
The land which has now resulted in a slide, of course killing over a thousand of blameless Sierra Leoneans, is one of number of lands identified as forest reserve, but which over the years has been transformed to residential areas.
Amongst the houses involved, is one believed to be owned by the current Information Minister, Mohamed Bangura.
So far, dead bodies discovered and taken to the national mortuary totaled over three hundred.
Not much has been done to dig out the remains of presumably hundreds locked underneath the earth owing to lack of rescue machineries.
It is still also not known whether survivors of the landslide have been provided with temporary shelter by government.
However, the President, his Vice President including handful of cabinet ministers were at the scene of occurrence at Prince Allieu Drive in the Matormeh Community at Mount Sugaroaf, Regent Freetown to get first hand information of the destruction, nothing more.
Landslide is the movement of rock, debris or earth down a slope. They result from the failure of the materials which make up the hill slope and are driven by the force of gravity.
Landslides are known also as landslips, slumps or slope failure. Some of the most common types of landslide are earth slides, rock falls and debris flows.
The movement of landslide material can vary from abrupt collapses to slow gradual slides and at rates which range from almost undetectable to extremely rapid.
Sudden and rapid events are the most dangerous because of a lack of warning and the speed at which material can travel down the slope as well as the force of its resulting impact, which no doubt relates to what has seen innocent lives go just like that.
Landslides can be triggered by natural causes or by human activity.
They range from a single boulder in a rock fall or topple to tens of millions of cubic metres of material in a debris flow.
Sources say lands covering Mount Sugar loaf were squatted by trespassers and sold to people by individuals in public positions.