Several residents in Weala Community, Margibi Country, have begun leaving their homes seeking refuge in surrounding communities as a result of the government’s failure to remove alleged dead Ebola victims’ bodies from the community.
Speaking to the Daily Observer last Saturday at the administrative headquarters of Weala in Cinta Township, the youth chairman, Chris David, said since August 5, two persons mysteriously died and all efforts to have the corpses removed by the local administration, including health authorities, have proved fruitless.
He identified the two corpses as Ellietta and Boll Tate. He said the two died in separate communities in Weala. He named Peace Community and the only private health center, the “Weala Community Clinic” that caters to residents in the area.
Due to the poor sanitary condition, Mr. David stated that the clinic is currently closed and community dwellers in the area, including Peace Island residents, are leaving their homes to seek a safer environment.
The situation prompted the residents to set up a roadblock on the Kakata-Gbarnga highway to compel government to remove the two corpses.
“We blocked the car road and stopped all plying objects to claim the government’s attention to our plight," Mr. David explained. "Since four days now, the two dead persons’ bodies have been decomposing, and residents in these communities can no longer bear it. So they have had to move to another area for safety. We don’t know what killed them, whether Ebola or some other disease. But no one wants to risk his/her life by being exposed to these corpses," he explained.
For her part, the head of the women’s orgaization in Weala, Madam Fatu Coleman, said since the pronouncement of President Sirleaf’s State of Emergency and the forbidding of people burying dead persons, they (residents) have been reluctant to bury anybody. She confirmed that when Ellietta and Boll Tate died, the community had communicated the deaths to local administrations, including the County Health Team of Margibi, expecting them to bury or remove the corpses and have them appropriately handled; but no word from the County Health Team has been received.
The Weala Women's leader noted that the situation is posing a serious problem to women and children in that part of Liberia. Because of the government’s refusal to remove the bodies, the owner of the only community clinic in the area has closed the place down.
Madam Coleman, who hailed the government for its decision to declare a state of emergency to fight against the deadliest killer Ebola virus, called upon government put into place a workable framework that will make for the speedy removal of dead persons from communities around the country.
Also speaking on the issue, the Commissioner of Cinta Township, William Julye, described the delay of the government’s burial team to remove the decomposing dead bodies in his township as a total embarrassment.
Mr. Julye said he had earlier informed his boss, the Margibi Superintendent, about this urgent matter, who gave assurance that a team, including health personnel were going to remove the two dead bodies. That has not happened.
As a result, residents of Weala Town on Saturday August 9, 2014 set up a roadblock preventing vehicles from plying the Kakata-Gbarnga route.
The residents’ roadblock action, which lasted for over 3 hours . It was later aborted by well armed Police Support Unit (PSU).
Commenting on the death of Ellietta and Boll Tate, Commissioner Julye explained that his inquiry proved that the two were relatives, that they got sick in Kakata and had gone for medical treatment in Weala.
According to Commissioner Julye, the father of Boll Tate, Mr. Christopher Tate, who also works for the Salala Rubber Corporation (SRC), had told him (Julye) that Mr. Tate’s now deceased son was sick and that he (father) had suggested that his the young man go to Weala for treatment.
Upon arrival, Mr. Tate allegedly hired a private nurse to treat his son. Mr. Julye pointed out that after administering several medications without eqrw results, the nurse (name not given) instructed Mr. Tate to take his son back to Kakata for further treatment.
Immediately, Mr. Tate hired a Motorcycle rider, including two family members, to transport Boll Tate to Kakata.
It was while they were en route to Kakata that Boll Tate died and was later taken back to Weala.
Mr. Julye lamented that prior to Boll Tate’s death, he vomited and showed other signs that were symptomatic of Ebola.
The Cinta Township Commissioner’s records show that prior to the deaths of Boll Tate and Ellietta, in the space of less than two months, seven family members have died in similar manner, bringing the total death toll in Weala to nine.