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Weekly wrap-up: Sierra Leone mudslides kill hundreds; At least 7 tornadoes swarm Minnesota


Catastrophic flooding and mudslides occurred in the west African country of Sierra Leone this week, claiming the lives on more than 400 people.

The country’s president, Ernest Bai Koroma, said entire communities had been wiped out and the devastation “was overwhelming us,” the BBC reported.

After heavy rain on Sunday, a partial collapse of Sugar Loaf Mountain buried homes in the Regent area of Freetown, the country’s capital, on Monday.

Hundreds of people were still missing as of Friday as burial procedures were expedited due to a continued threat for additional mudslides. Mass burials were needed to free up space in mortuaries, according to the BBC.

sierra leone mudslides

Volunteers search for bodies from the scene of heavy flooding and mudslides in Regent, just outside of Sierra Leone's capital Freetown, Tuesday, Aug. 15 , 2017. (AP Photo/ Manika Kamara)


The tropics continued to buzz with activity as Gert became the second hurricane of the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season on Monday.

While Gert eventually reached Category 2 strength, it never came close to making landfall in the United States. However, it did bring enhanced surf to East Coast beaches through late in the week.

Beyond Gert, three other tropical systems were being monitored, including Tropical Storm Harvey, which formed on Thursday afternoon east of the Windward Islands. Harvey is the eighth named tropical system of the 2017 Atlantic season.

On Wednesday, Aug.16, at least seven tornadoes were confirmed across Minnesota, as a period of moderate to heavy rain brought flooding across the southwestern part of the state.

At least six of the tornadoes were given an EF0 rating, but an EF1 tornado packing winds of 100-105 mph struck near the town of New Sweden. No injuries were reported, but the tornadoes did down trees and leave behind some damage to buildings at several farm properties.

Heavy rain, which triggered landslides and flooding, killed more than 250 people across southeastern Asia in the past week, the Associated Press reported. The fatalities were reported across India, Nepal and Bangladesh as frequent downpours continued through the week.

More than one-third of Nepal's 75 districts have reported flooding or mudslides from the recent heavy rainfall. The flooding decimated crops, inundated an estimated 60,000 homes across the country and damaged roads and bridges. In Chitwan National Park in southern Nepal, elephants were used for water rescues.

south asia flooding

Flood affected villagers travel on a boat in Morigaon district, east of Gauhati, northeastern state of Assam, India, Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2017. (AP Photo/Anupam Nath)


Destructive wildfires broke out near Varnavas, Greece, just north of Athens on Sunday. The blaze destroyed 20 homes and forced evacuations across popular holiday locations.

The fire continued to burn out of control through Monday, but by Wednesday, Greece’s fire department said it was close to containing the wildfire, the AP reported.