Burials continue despite ‘cancelled’ Christmas in Sierra Leone

Ebola in LiberiaEbola Diary: After a week in West Africa, Sarah Boseley concludes that not enough is yet known about the virus, except that it must be eradicated.

A large group of men, women and children, all in their best clothes, is gathered in the yard of a house in Wellington, an Ebola-hit western area of Freetown. The dresses and headscarves are bright but the faces are sombre.

Alie Kamara, the owner of the house, died this morning and lies inside. He will be buried within a few hours. The manner of his burial is difficult for this community, just as it would be for friends and relatives in any town anywhere in the world.

They watch in silence as several vehicles belonging to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) draw up. Mustapha Rogers, the “ben com” – the beneficiaries communication officer who will explain events to those who loved or respected Kamara – steps forward and asks for the chief. She is Yabom Wara Kamara-Wokolo, and she answers Rogers’ questions about the manner of the death and the number of family members who live in the house.

Rogers used to be a salesman for British American Tobacco, another company that has shut down here as a result of the epidemic. “They don’t have any distributors to do the job,” said Rogers. (read more)

christmas, ebola, Sierra Leone