Global Communities, a Washington area-based nonprofit that manages Ebola burials in Liberia, announced this month that a new Ebola burial site has opened near Monrovia, Liberia.
The site, which includes a temporary morgue, an isolation disinfection area and a safe place for mourners to gather, is located behind the Disco Hill Community in Margibi County. Global Communities is responsible for managing the site to ensure Ebola victims are buried properly and help reduce the risks of new infections during burial.
“Since President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf officially opened the cemetery December 23, more than 70 people have been buried there, and eventually the 25-acre site will have the capacity to accommodate 13,000 individual plots,” Global Communities said in a statement.
In November, I wrote a story about an Ebola worker’s return to Washington: Brett Sedgewick, who spent weeks in Liberia managing teams that buried as many as 50 people a week. The teams carefully placed Ebola victims into sealed bags, disinfecting everything around them. The story followed Sedgewick in D.C., as he underwent a 21-day monitoring period. Sedgewick was happy to report in November that he was not infected with Ebola.
Since the recent outbreak, more than 8,400 people in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone have died of the virus.
The new burial site in Liberia, Global Communities officials said, was created to help stop the spread of the deadly virus during unsafe burial practices. After death, Ebola victims are still highly contagious. Ebola infections often occur during burial rituals in which family members touched and washed the bodies of victims.
“Because this cemetery is so very important to the people in and around Monrovia, while Global Communities manages Disco Hill our teams are providing burial at no cost to individuals who want to lay their loved ones to rest here,” Piet deVries, Global Communities Liberia country director, said in a statement.
“During this tragic time, people will be able to pay their respects according to their beliefs safely and without infecting others.”