Ebola Victims' Corpses Dumped by Burial Workers in Sierra Leone Pay Dispute
By Glynn Cosker
Editor, In Homeland Security
Disgruntled Sierra Leone burial workers unceremoniously dumped bodies of Ebola virus victims in the street Tuesday.
At least three corpses blocked the main entrance to a hospital in the eastern town of Kenema as workers protested not receiving promised bonus checks for handling the bodies. A total of 15 corpses reportedly lined a nearby street. Officials stated that the bodies included those of two infants.
A representative of the burial workers told Reuters that his team had not seen its hazard allowance pay for seven weeks.
Sierra Leone government officials admitted that no hazard pay was received by the specific burial teams. However, the same officials stated that they dispersed money to the district health management team.
“Somebody somewhere needs to be investigated (to find out) where these monies have been going,” National Ebola Response Center representative Sidi Yahya told Reuters. “Displaying corpses in a very, very inhumane manner is completely unacceptable,” he continued and vowed that the striking burial workers would be fired.
Health care workers frequently go on strike in Sierra Leone due to their hazardous working conditions and scant pay. Two weeks ago, workers in a clinic in the town of Bo left their posts in protest.
Sierra Leone is overwhelmed by the Ebola virus which has killed more than 5,400 people since March. Neighboring nations Liberia and Guinea recently saw some progress in controlling the outbreak but Sierra Leone’s infection rate continues to rise. Tuesday’s corpse dumping won’t help that situation, but nor does a seemingly corrupt wages disbursement system.
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