Because of the emergency situation of the catastrophic event, one can understanding the disconsolate situation at the government hospital mortuary, most people understand that the capacity of the mortuary is limited to conserve the cadavers as the current stench within the mortuary environs can coherently attest to that undisputable fact.
As journalist, I am opportune to witness the disastrous scene as well as gaining access to the mortuary, what saddens was that ‘Security personnel at the mortuary established that the usage of mobile phones or cameras are out bound in the mortuary’, but unfortunately some explicit photos of our beloved Sierra Leoneans are out in the social media and such act is tantamount to gross disrespect of the dead. Sierra Leone is a sober religious nation and the two dominant religions (Islam and Christianity) have similar traditions to respect and honour the dead.
In that note, we are expecting to see at least the genital part of the departed bodies being covered, even in the identification process.
Pathetically, most of the survivors and relatives of the victims that AYV Media interviewed ascertained the remains of their love ones are already in the state of decomposition, in that vein there is no need for them to obtain festering bodies and their option is for the government to go ahead with the burial and they will accept their fate as the will of God/Allah.
However, People should be mindful of the fact that such act of surreptitiously obtaining photos of the victims at the mortuary, will not only erode or wither the dignity of innocent Sierra Leoneans and non Sierra Leoneans who met their untimely death in the wake of the Monday 14 August 2017, flood flash and mudslide, but also it exposed the uncultured and indecent lifestyle of the way and manner in which many social media users disgraced their compatriots to the world over.
In a statement issued by the government of Sierra Leone dated Tuesday 16 August 2017, the country’s national flag should fly at half mast from the above stated date to 22 August 2017,and the statement also called on Sierra Leoneans to observe one minute silence mid day , this past Wednesday 16 August 2017.
After the tragedy government initially gave its first official death toll as 297, comprising 109 children, 83 women and 105 men.
The deputy minister of information and communication, Cornelius Deveaux conveyed an emergency press conference in which he disclosed that the bodies were counted at the Connaught hospital mortuary on Liftboston Street in the central part of Freetown, but that the unofficial put the death toll at over three hundred.
The search for more bodies was expected to continue yesterday as more people are still feared missing and the government said it had raised the national security alert to level three and invoked the military aid to civil power (MACP) to deal with the emergency situation.
The government has pronounced today Thursday 17 August 2017, for a mass burial of the unidentified corpses and urged the general public to visit the mortuary to identify and claim their loved ones for individual burial.
A night vigil and prayer session will be convened at the National Stadium in Freetown, prior to the mass burial.
Meanwhile, the president of the republic of Guinean, Alpha Conde on Tuesday made a one-day Solidarity visit to Freetown to mourn with Sierra Leoneans.
President Alpha Conde accompanied his host, President Ernest Bai Koroma in visiting some scenes of rescue and recovery operations.