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Concern Worldwide assisting with the burial of hundreds of bodies in Sierra Leone

Press release17 August 2017

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Concern Worldwide assisting with the burial of hundreds of bodies in Sierra Leone

International aid agency, Concern Worldwide, is assisting with the burial of hundreds of bodies piling up in overstretched morgues in flood-damaged Sierra Leone.

Concern has reactivated experienced burial teams who worked with the organisation during the deadly Ebola outbreak to assist the authorities in the capital, Freetown, as they bury hundreds of corpses and try prevent the spread of lethal diseases like cholera.

As the death toll rises to over 400 people, a quarter of them children, the aid agency said there is an urgent need to ensure the safe and dignified burial of the men, women and children who died when flash floods and mudslides struck the city earlier this week.

Concern’s International Programme Director, Anne O’Mahony, said:

Unidentified bodies are piling up in the overstretched city morgues. It is hot and humid and there is no refrigeration. It is imperative that burials take place as quickly as possible, but equally important that families can grieve their loved ones. We have reactivated Concern Worldwide’s Ebola burial teams, who are taking photographs of the victims and identifying where they are buried with physical markers so that extended families will be able to trace their loved ones in the days to come. We are doing this in the most sensitive way possible to ensure families can find their loved ones. We have staff liaising with the families. Our experienced teams will from today be assisting with this process while the government does the actual burying.

Anne O’Mahony

Concern has worked in the West African nation since 1996 and currently has 157 staff in the country with more emergency response staff being deployed to Freetown to help coordinate relief efforts.


For more information or interview requests, contact Deborah Underdown on 0207 801 1857 or 07974 395048 (mobile) or by email: [email protected]

Notes to Editor:

During the Ebola crisis, Concern began a safe burial programme in Sierra Leone in 2015 after it was asked by the National Ebola Response Centre there to take over management of burials of bodies in the west of the country.

About Concern Worldwide

Concern Worldwide is an international non-governmental humanitarian organisation dedicated to the reduction of suffering and working towards the ultimate elimination of extreme poverty in the world’s poorest countries.

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