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Government debunks Red Cross death figures

OCTOBER 24, 2014 By Alusine Sesay

National Coordinator in the Office of the Government Spokesman, Abdulai Bayraytay, yesterday told journalists that figures regarding the number of corpses buried each day, released by the Sierra Leone Red Cross Society to the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), were incorrect.

Red Cross Secretary-General, Elhadj As Sy, had said on Wednesday that 70 to 100 Ebola corpses are buried on a daily basis in the Western Area, while the virus would take four to six months to eradicate.

However, Mr. Bayraytay said the figures are not correct because beginning 1st October to date, the country has recorded one hundred and seven (107) confirmed Ebola deaths in the Western Area.

He said the Red Cross are not the sole group helping with the burial of Ebola deaths.

“We have Concern Worldwide and other institutions involved in the burial of Ebola corpses. Immediately we heard the news, we crosschecked it with all those involved in the burial and found that we only recorded 107 confirmed Ebola deaths in the Western Area,” he said. “We are not going into a fight with any organization but they should ensure that they send out the accurate information to the public.”

We couldn’t get a response from local Red Cross officials as at press time.

Meanwhile, Sidi Yayah Tunis, communications director at the Ministry of Health and Sanitation, disclosed that the Western Area, comprising both Rural and Urban, have recorded 874 confirmed cases of Ebola.

The figure represents the highest in a single geopolitical area in the country, surpassing Kailahun and Kenema, which previously held the unenviable national record. Both districts have so far recorded 550 and 474 cases respectively, according to official figures released yesterday.

Also, Tunis revealed that government has taken the onus to undertake all burial – whether Ebola related or not.

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