The Government of Liberia has secured 50 acres of land to be used as new burial site for all Ebola related deaths. Twenty-five acres of the land have been landscaped and is ready for use.
According to an Executive Mansion release, the 25 acres of land, situated behind the Disco Hill Community, was secured through the intervention of the Ministry of Internal Affairs in collaboration with the Council of Chiefs and Elders, and the United States based non-governmental organization, Global Community, and the citizens of Disco Hill Community along the Roberts field highway, Margibi County.
The site, which will eventually become the new national cemetery, will enable relatives and loved ones to identify graves of Ebola victims instead of the earlier cremation of victims’ bodies.
Speaking to group of journalists following a tour of the site by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the Coordinator of the Incidence Management System, Mr. Tolbert Nyensuah, said areas have been demarcated for Christian burials and Muslim burials; while a place has been earmarked to erect a memorial monument for those victims of the Ebola virus disease that were cremated before now.
He noted that victims will be identified by tombstones and relatives, friends, and even pastors and imams will be allowed to perform burials rites at the site, but avoid touching. He said securing the new burial site, relatives, loved ones and clerics can now work with the safe burial teams and victims can have dignified burials. “This will become a national cemetery so that people will not hide dead bodies because of cremation,” he stressed.
“Right now as we are, we started cremation as a country when Ebola was very much intensified in August and September but there are a lot of people who are rejecting cremation of their bodies.
So as people fight Ebola to have safe and dignified burials, we decided to identify the site which is now ready for both Christians and Muslim to have well dignified and safe burials, where people can practice their rituals but not to touch dead bodies,” Mr. Nyensuah said.
He added that as a new national cemetery, other people who might want to bury their loved ones there can come as it will not only be for Ebola victims but anyone that dies.
The Government of Liberia has already paid an initial amount of US$25,000 to secure the land and has committed to make a final payment of US$25,000 once a Memorandum of Understanding has been reached between Government and the people of Disco Hill Community. They have requested primary school, clinic, road, and safe drinking water for the community.
Chief Zanzan Kawon presented the check of US$25,000 on behalf of the Government of Liberia, while Mr. Kaizon received the check on behalf of his community. President Sirleaf witnessed the presentation.
Meanwhile, a US based non-governmental organization, Global Community, informed the gathering that a well has been completed in the community, while the road is being rehabilitated. Global Community has committed to building a primary school for the Disco Hill Community.