Storm fells symbolic 400-year-old cotton tree in Sierra Leone

The tree was once a logo of freedom and have been a countrywide landmark for hundreds of years.

Torrential rains in Sierra Leone’s capital have felled the centuries-old Cotton Tree, a countrywide treasure whose loss has left “a gap” in folks’s hearts, President Julius Maada Bio says.

“There is no stronger symbol of our national story than the Cotton Tree, a physical embodiment of where we come from as a country,” Bio informed newshounds from The Associated Press information company on Thursday. “Nothing in nature lasts forever, so our challenge is to rekindle, nurture and develop that powerful African spirit it for so long represented.”

The kind of 400-year-old tree, which had stood 70 meters (230 toes) tall and 15 meters (50 toes) huge, has been Sierra Leone’s nationwide image for many years.

The Cotton Tree was once crucial landmark within the West African nation, which was once based through previously enslaved Africans coming back from the United States. Locals say when the returnees arrived through boat within the overdue 1700s, they amassed beneath its branches to provide prayers of their new house, which they referred to as Freetown.

The tree went on to look at the nation’s banknotes and be celebrated in kids’s nursery rhymes. It was once additionally visited through Queen Elizabeth II to mark Sierra Leone’s independence from British colonial rule in 1961.

“It was regarded as a symbol of liberty and freedom by early settlers,” the president wrote on Twitter.

“We have to see what we are going to do to make sure that we keep the history of this tree here,” Bio informed the Reuters information company the place it as soon as stood. “I want to have a piece of this history wherever I find myself – at the state house, the museum or city hall.”

While the tree had withstood injury during the years, together with a lightning strike that left it scorched, Wednesday’s typhoon left not anything of the tree however a stump.

Sierra Leone is without doubt one of the international locations maximum suffering from local weather exchange. In 2017, greater than 1,000 folks have been killed through a landslide because of heavy rains.


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