November 16, 2016 By Joseph S. Margai
Officials of the Western Area Rural District Council (WARDC) have disclosed to Concord Times that they have written a letter to President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma, soliciting support of over six billion Leones for the construction of a perimeter fence around the Ebola cemetery at Waterloo.
Situated at Pa Loko village in the Western Area Rural, the Ebola cemetery housed over 10,040 victims, who died of the disease from October 2014 to February 2016. The cemetery is reportedly said to be occupying a land of over ten thousand (10,000) acres.
Deputy Chief Administrator (DCA) of WARDC, Peter Abdul Koroma, said the cemetery covers a vest landscape, which the council alone could not afford to fund the construction of a perimeter fence to protect it from intruders.
He reiterated that they have written a letter dated 18th April, 2016, to the President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma, through the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, soliciting his intervention to embark on the project.
“Our District Engineer has done a survey on the land occupied by the cemetery and we are seeking over six billion Leones to fence it. It is a monumental cemetery that is very important to us as a country. Foreign researchers, as well as those in Sierra Leone would be interested to know something about this cemetery. That is why it should be protected and preserved,” he said.
He disclosed that they were yet to receive any feedback for the letter they wrote to the president, stating that they were optimistic that President Koroma would surely intervene, especially when the cemetery was so important to Sierra Leone’s history.
With regards the employment of grave diggers and security personnel, the WARDC DCA said they could not employ people to man the cemetery because the issue was not captured in this year’s budget.
“When Concern Worldwide handed over the cemetery to us after the Ebola, we were asked to employ about 37 grave diggers. We had wanted to employ them but we did not budget for that. We will have to do so for 2017, so that we can get people to take care of the cemetery,” he said.
He added that Concern Worldwide had recommended that grave designers should be employed, so that they could be refilling the graves with muds that would be removed by erosion.