Why is the Sierra Leone Mudslide Not a Bigger Story?

By Patrick Brogan

The latest reports of the mudslide in Sierra Leone put the death toll 400 people and a further 600 missing as the West African nation goes into a week of mourning. The natural disaster took place in the town of Regent, just a few miles from the capital Freetown.

Fears are growing over the possibility of another landslide in the mountainous region. Giving the geography of steep hills, it is difficult to perform emergency missions. This could lead to an outbreak of disease.

This is just one in a number of dark days for the African nation. Long associated with the slave trade, Sierra Leone has had to deal with blood diamonds, civil war and the Ebola outbreak in 2014. The country had been moving on since then and a fast growing economy had helped settle the country.

Given the catastrophic nature of this event, you would expect more coverage in the Western media, but they have been suspiciously quiet. When terrorist attacks were carried out in Paris and Beirut at around the same time, the Paris story got more headlines in the West, and this is understandable as France is a Western nation and people could relate to it more and have more of an emotional attachment to it.

With Sierra Leone, there is no comparable news story in scale at the moment. This a humanitarian disaster and the people could do with all the help they can get. International aid is needed and the story seems to be ignored. Hopefully, for the sake of those affected, this won’t be the case for long.


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