4 August 2014

Liberia: Burning of Bodies Starts

Photo: Samaritan's Purse
Dr. Brantly makes chlorine solution for disinfection at the case management center at ELWA Hospital in Monrovia before he was infected with the virus.

The Liberian Government announced Sunday that it has begun burning the bodies of victims of the deadly Ebola virus.

"We have decided to burn the bodies," Information Minister Lewis G. Brown told the New Dawn Sunday. He said the decision to cremate the bodies of Ebola victims was reached earlier on Sunday.

The government's decision to cremate the bodies of victims of the tropical disease follows the increasing wave of resistance by residents of several communities to allow the burial of Ebola victims in their areas.

The decision also comes days after President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf told Health Ministry officials and officials of relevant agencies to consider cremation.

"Cremation will take place in Marshall beginning today," Mr. Brown said. Marshall is located in Margibi County, another county affected by the tropical disease here.

On Saturday dozens of residents from several communities protested against the burial of Ebola victims in their areas.

The first burial site for over 25 bodies in the township of Johnsonville was abandoned by health workers after the land owner refused to sell the land to bury Ebola victims.

Angry crowd shouted at health workers at the second site as they tried to convince them. It took the efforts of soldiers from the Armed Forces of Liberia to bring the situation under control before burial could take place overnight.

The refusal by some landowners to sell parcel of lands to government to bury Ebola victims have made the collection of bodies of Ebola victims from homes and communities slow. Mr. Brown admitted that indeed the refusal was hampering government's effort to fast track the collection of bodies.

"It has been slow to collect bodies because of the refusal and the resistance by communities," he said. He, however, noted that government is seeking an increasing number of volunteers to mend its hotlines.

Last week President Sirleaf announced several tough measures, including the immediate closure of all schools across the country, the quarantine of some communities, restricted and limited travels of government officials and the closure of all markets at border areas including Foya, Bo Waterside, and Ganta till further notice, as it embarked of a massive effort to stop the further spread of the virus which had so far claimed 129 lives.

Security forces here were been ordered to enforce these measures and ensure straight adherence.

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