President Koroma declares 7 days national mourning
August 16,2017 By Ishmael Sallieu Koroma
As bereaved families of the August 14th Mudslides and flooding in Freetown asked government to come out with a statement on the issue of their loved ones, President Ernest Bai Koroma has declared seven days national mourning across the country and asked that all relatives should report at the Connaught Hospital Morgue to identify their loved ones today.
One of the bereaved family members ,Augustine Bright, a resident of Regent Road, Lumley ,said he lost ten (10) of his relatives in the disaster at Regent .
“My younger brother Christopher Bright, his wife Christiana Bright, daughter Christicia and other seven family members and siblings all die at Regent,” he said.
He added that as bereaved families, they have not been able to recognise and retrieve corpses of their loved ones.
Mr. Bright said they have not been allowed by authorities at the Connaught Mortuary to see their loved ones.
“If we have an opportunity of retrieving the corpses of our family members, we will give them befitting burial,” he cried out, adding that since the incident occurred on Monday, they haven’t been able to set eyes on the remains of their loved ones.
Another aggrieved bereaved family member,Yusif Conteh ,who lost his entire family members in the flooding and mudslide at Mount Sugar Loaf, expressed deep frustration over the issue of not setting eyes on his loved ones since the incident occurred on Monday.
“My wife, sisters, brothers and two daughters were all dead in the flooding at Motormeh,” he cried.
Yusif, who was in tears while responding to Concord Times interview said he was traumatised and shocked over the lost of his family members.
“I even spoke to my brother earlier in the night and sound very okay and good. Only to be called to say they were swept by flooding,” he cried out.
“I am short of words because my family is everything to me .I no longer have a close family to talk to. This is very disturbing!”
“I will forever cherish them as they were my source of inspiration.”
However, Environment and Social Officer of the Freetown City Council(FCC), Sulaiman Zainu Parker, whilst speaking on Africa Young Voices Television (AYV), said the conditions of some of the corpses are very bad, hence the need for urgency.
He said the Freetown city Council was seriously engaged in the process of emergency services since the disaster took place on Monday.
He emphasised that most of the corpses cannot be identified because of the severe damage on their bodies and that the FCC including partners in the disaster process were yet to definitely make a decision to bury the corpses.
He applauded Community stakeholders including chiefs, youths, imams for their immense role in the emergency services during the environmental disaster.
He disclosed that they have decided to use community approach to help victims in different communities, instead of taking them to the national Stadium, adding that during last year’s disaster, they encountered a lot of challenges as some people who were not affected registered in the stadium.
Already community people have started helping out victims by giving them food, shelter, clothing and many more.