August 17, 2017 By Joseph S. Margai
Chairman of the Western Area Rural District Council (WARDC), Alhassan Cole, has revealed that they have hired the service of six hundred (600) grave diggers to prepare three hundred (300) graves to bury victims of the August 14 mudslide disaster in Freetown.
On 14th August, 2017, mudslide and flood caused by torrential rains hit many communities in Freetown, killing hundreds of people. The Ebola cemetery at Pa Loko village in the outskirts of Waterloo has been identified for the dignified burial of victims.
Speaking at the cemetery site yesterday, WARDC Chairman said they previously wanted to bury the victims in a mass grave, but after thorough consideration, President Koroma ordered him to prepare individual graves amounting to 300 in order to bury the victims.
He promised that the 300 graves shall have been completely prepared by 12pm today.
“I cannot tell you the number of corpses that will be buried here but I have been tasked to prepare 300 individual graves. I heard rumours that corpses are being buried here in mass graves but it’s a blatant lie. As chairman of WARDC, I was here on Tuesday but we did not bury corpses in mass graves,” he said, adding that the site would be used as monument and all graves would be inscribed for easy identification.
He revealed that President Koroma and his entire cabinet would today be at the cemetery to give a befitting burial to the mudslide victims.
“Since the incident took place, WARDC has taken the lead by hiring 600 youth to dig the graves. We bought 10 shovels and 10 pickaxes as well as provided food and cash for work,” he disclosed.
He said WARDC would deliver services to people and would not make gains out of the current situation, which was why they did not send budget to anyone for help, but funded everything themselves.
Chairman Cole said he was disheartened by the incident and the amount of lives lost and expressed council’s condolences to the bereaved family.