Sierra Leone’s symbolic Cotton Tree falls throughout storm in Freetown | Sierra Leone

The huge tree fell after a heavy rainstorm – night-time image with branches and leaves still in place

A centuries-old tree that served as a historic image in Sierra Leone has been felled throughout a storm, the federal government has mentioned.

The 70-metre (230ft) Ceiba pentandra – identified by Sierra Leoneans as Cotton Tree – misplaced all of its branches on Wednesday throughout torrential rains and excessive winds, with solely the bottom of its huge trunk nonetheless standing. The tree, which was within the capital, Freetown, was about 400 years outdated.

The president, Julius Maada Bio, mentioned: “All Sierra Leoneans will pause for thought on the lack of such a prestigious nationwide image as Cotton Tree. For hundreds of years it has been a proud emblem of our nation, an emblem of a nation that has grown to offer shelter for a lot of.”

In response to legend, previously enslaved individuals who gained their freedom preventing on the British facet of the American conflict of independence prayed below the tree once they arrived in west Africa.

Cotton Tree adorned banknotes and stamps, was visited by Queen Elizabeth II in 1961 and had remained a preferred attraction ever since.

Freetown residents continued to wish beneath the tree, which in latest many years towered over a busy roundabout close to the nationwide museum, the central submit workplace and the nation’s highest courtroom.

The huge tree fell after a heavy rainstorm – night-time image with branches and leaves still in place
The massive tree fell after a heavy rainstorm. {Photograph}: Umaru Fofana/Reuters

On Thursday morning, a few hundred residents gathered on the web site in mourning.

Gibrilla Sesay, a 34-year-old finance employee, mentioned: “I’m shocked and heartbroken to see our beloved Freetown Cotton Tree destroyed this morning on my strategy to work.”

There have been no studies of accidents, the federal government mentioned.

The police and navy have been deployed to the realm on Thursday, and the federal government introduced a cleanup effort was below manner.

Sierra Leone has suffered a number of climate-related disasters in recent times. In 2017, greater than 1,100 folks have been killed in a mudslide within the capital when a part of a mountain collapsed on to casual settlements. Eight folks have been killed in a landslide final August.

No less than 15 folks died in flooding this month, in response to the nationwide catastrophe administration company.

Sierra Leone’s wet season usually lasts from Might to October.