Terrain shapes and bedrock
Of the four natural regions that are discerned in Sierra Leone, the southern coastal region is low-lying and partly marshy, and consists mostly of sand and clay. Lagoons and estuaries alternate here with long ridges. The highland Sierra Leone Peninsula differs with its densely forested mountains from the rest of the coast. The highest point, Picket Hill, reaches 888 meters above sea level. The Inner Plains is a region originally covered by savannah in the north. As a rule, it is flooded during the rainy season but dry and hard during the dry season. Further south, isolated, wooded hills rise up to 200 m above sea level.
The bedrock consists mostly of granite, covered by a thick and hard layer of laterite. A border zone in the west consists of metamorphic rocks. At the far east is a mountain region, where the Loma Mountains reach 1,948 m above sea level. and Tingibergen 1,853 m asl Except for a large number of small rivers in the coastal region, a dozen larger streams flow down from the highlands and into the Atlantic. Big and Little Scarcies, Rokel and Jong. The soil cover is mostly leached and iron-rich laterite soils.
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According to COUNTRYAAH, Sierra Leone has a tropical climate with a pronounced rainy season and dry season. The average monthly temperature is 24-28 °C. The rainy season falls in May – October, when humid air masses from the Atlantic are brought in by the southwest wind. The relative humidity can then reach 90% and the temperature becomes 6 °C lower. The rainfall in the high peninsula is 3,800 mm per year, furthest to the east of 2000 mm. The dry season is characterized by the harmattan, a dry hot desert wind.
More than 2,000 species of higher plants occur in the country, of which one genus and some 70 species are endemic. Nowadays, Sierra Leone is dominated by secondary grass vegetation. Over large areas spread earlier lowland rainforest, where tall trees species Heritie’ra u’tilis (mallow family), Cryptose’palum tetraphy’llum (family legumes), Klainedo’xia gabone’nsis (family simaroubaceae), Lophi’ra ala’ta (family ochnaväxter) and Ua’paca guinee’nsis (family Spurge) was typical elements.
In the rainforests there are still valuable tree species, nine of which account for about 70% of the harvest volume, but these are now forced into small isolated areas, mainly in the eastern part of the country. At the coast there is mangrove vegetation with, among other things. red mangrove. The mountains in the interior of the country have mountain vegetation which in some respects is similar to that of the East African mountains.
Wildlife is strongly influenced by logging and other biotoping. Hundreds of thousands of monkeys were killed against state bullets in the 1940s and 1950s, and extensive commercial hunting for monkeys and antelopes has continued until recently. Of the country’s 147 known mammal species, 18 are antelope and 15 are primates. Among the latter are green markets, red baboons (Paʹpio paʹpio), chimpanzees and a few species of colobus monkeys. The forest elephant was formerly widespread, but now mostly a few animals remain in the Golas forest in southeastern Sierra Leone. Predators include leopard, lateral lizard (Caʹnis aduʹstus) and spotted hyena.
About 615 species of birds have been observed in the country.
There are only a few nature reserves, but a number of new reserves and national parks have been proposed. in the Loma Mountains to the east. A program to protect the only remaining major lowland rainforest, Gola in the southeast, was established in 1990, but the plan had not yet been implemented in 1996.
The Ebola infection in Sierra Leone
Since March 2014, the Ebola epidemic – whose name derives from the Ebola river in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), near which the village of Yakumbu stands, where the first infection occurred in 1976 – continues to claim victims in Africa western, particularly in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Among these, the state of Freetown is the only one that currently seems to have defeated the virus.
The first cases of the infection were identified in the Nzerekore area, a remote area in south-east Guinea, where the epidemic started, which then moved quickly to Sierra Leone and to an even worse extent to Liberia. Inadequate health systems, lack of specialized personnel, lack of medical equipment, ignorance of hygiene regulations and the mobility of the population have contributed to making the crisis even more dangerous. This emergency has pushed Sierra Leone, the second country with the most victims after Liberia and first for the number of infections, to close its borders both inbound and outbound and to apply strong measures against the mobilization of the population., including the closure of schools (reopened only in April 2015, after 8 months of interruption).
To combat Ebola and stop the humanitarian emergency, the international community has also been activated – too late. The US has pledged to deploy 3,000 troops to the affected regions; the United Nations Security Council adopted resolution 2177 on 18 September 2014 to strengthen the global response to the spread of the virus in West Africa, while the European Commission has allocated 1 billion euros to finance the fight against the virus. The infection affected about 28,637 people, causing 11,314 victims, of which 3955 in Sierra Leone, 4809 in Liberia and 2536 in Guinea.
Although Sierra Leone was declared “Ebola free” on November 7, 2015 by the World Health Organization (WHO), the presence of new cases in neighboring countries obliges to maintain high levels of control to avoid a new spread of the virus, as already happened twice in Liberia.