Landslides and flooding killed hundreds of people in the West African state of Sierra Leone on Monday.
Some 312 casualties had been reported as Socialist Worker went to press—with the final number expected to be much higher.
A section of Sugar Loaf mountain near the capital Freetown collapsed altogether, submerging at least 100 homes in mud. No sign of them remains.
As locals dug for bodies and survivors, one woman told the BBC she had lost 11 members of her family.
More than 2,000 people have been made homeless.
This was no natural disaster.
Freetown is one of the wettest cities in Africa and floods are frequent, yet the poor have been left unprotected.
Much of its population lives in slums and shantytowns with low quality buildings and no urban planning.
Many arrived in the capital as refugees from the country’s civil war in the late 1990s—a conflict that included British troops sent by warmonger Tony Blair.
Blair’s war restored the corrupt government of Ahmad Tejan Kabbah, which went on looting the poor for another decade.
The poverty in Sierra Leone is both a legacy of western colonialism and a product of predatory market capitalism today.
These deaths should not have happened, and it’s largely the West’s fault they did.