While the death toll remains unconfirmed, the International Federation of the Red Cross and AFP report that at least 312 have been killed. Reuters reports that at least 205 bodies were taken to the central morgue in Freetown.
Heavy rain caused a hillside in Regent, a mountainside town 15 miles east of the capital, to collapse on Monday morning. The ensuing mudslide trapped hundreds of people, many of whom were asleep, and buried dozens of homes.
Rescue operations are still ongoing, and it is expected that the death toll will rise as more bodies are discovered.
“It is likely that hundreds are lying dead underneath the rubble,” Vice President Victor Foh told Reuters.
One local told Reuters that he had left early in the morning to buy bread, and when he returned, his wife, children, siblings and in-laws were all dead.
A disaster management official said that at least 2,000 people will be left homeless as a result of the mudslide.
Emergency services have been overwhelmed by the tragedy, leaving residents to search for their missing loved ones on their own.