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This Sierra Leonean Life: Cemeteries

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Coming a week after Freetown buried almost 500 people, the news that its city cemeteries have become playgrounds for criminals couldn't be worse.

In October 2014, the first group of more than 10,000 dead Sierra Leoneans, who succumbed to Ebola-related symptoms, were buried in Pa Loko village, Waterloo. At the height of the Ebola outbreak, the 12-person burial teams managed by an Irish humanitarian organization buried up to 85 bodies per day.

When the Ministry of Health and Sanitation ran out of burial plots (Sierra Leoneans frown on cremation) the Government of Sierra Leone purchased land about 20 miles east of downtown for an undisclosed sum. The Ebola cemetery at Waterloo is reportedly spread over ten thousand acres.

Once the Irish charity left, The Western Area Rural District Council acquired management of one of the largest cemeteries in the country.

In 2016, the Ebola cemetery authorities found that their funds could not meet the costs of long-term maintenance. So they wrote…

Sierra Leone enlists Army, calls for 7 days of national mourning after worst disaster since Ebola

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Sierra Leone's State House has proclaimed a seven-day National Mourning period, as the nation begins to come to terms with devastating floods and mud slides that have left hundreds of people dead and entire communities buried under mud. 
The week of mourning event has been organized around rescue and clean-up efforts, shored up by Army personnel activated by President Ernest Koroma in response to the humanitarian crisis.

Red Cross officials estimate that 600 people are still missing after heavy rains and flash flooding led to landslides in the west African nation of Sierra Leone on Monday.

More than 300 people are dead and local residents say they expect the death toll to continue to rise.

According to weather.com meteorologists,  the area has seen nearly 20 inches more rain than average over the last 30 days.

 UN in Sierra Leone‏ @UNSierraLeone  tweeted:

Private sector and #UN working together to map disaster area and predict risk of new landslides.










President Koroma: Tragedy challenges Sierra Leoneans to come together, help each other

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President Ernest Koroma addressed his crisis-stricken nation on Monday in a moving speech acknowledging the devastation but urging calm after a day of flooding and landslides in Sierra Leone's capital. Here's a transcript of what he said followed by a raw video after the jump. 
Fellow Sierra Leoneans, our nation has once again been gripped by grief. Many of our compatriots have lost their lives, many more have been gravely injured and billions of Leones worth of property destroyed in the flooding and landslides that swept across some parts of our city.

I am very disturbed by this national tragedy and with a heavy heart, let me extend profound condolences to the bereaved families. This is not a tragedy for you alone; it is a tragedy for every Sierra Leonean because the people who have perished in this disaster are our compatriots. Every single family, every single ethnic group, every single region is either directly or indirectly affected by this disaster.

Fellow Sierra Leonean…

Audit Sierra Leone says agencies to account for billions of Leones

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The Auditor General of Sierra Leone released a list Monday naming government agencies and institutions that have failed to submit their financial statement for the purpose of auditing.





The list includes the University of Sierra Leone, national stock exchange, and 10 bodies, including  the Small Arms Commission, which haven't submitted financial statements since their formation. "Having failed to submit their financial statements for auditing, these institutions should therefore collectively account for billions of Leones of public money they received as budgetary allocations/subventions," the press release said. 

AUDIT SERVICE SIERRA LEONE
           PUBLIC NOTICE
FAILURE TO SUBMIT FINANCIAL STATEMENT TO THE AUDITOR GENERAL FOR AUDITING 
Freetown, Sierra Leone- 7th August 2017-

Section 119(2) of the 1991 Constitution mandates the Auditor General to audit the          Public Accounts of Sierra Leone and all public offices including the courts, the accounts of the centra…

The king is dead, long live the king!

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Kama Dumbuya, a former Sierra Leone center forward who spent time with East End Lions, Blackpool, and Freetown United, football clubs, died Friday, June 16, 2017, the Sierra Leone Football Association announced.

Kama, whose flashy style, rugged looks, and charismatic personality left an indelible mark on west African football, passed away at Freetown's Connaught Hospital. Reports say he was in his 70's. The cause of death is unknown.

Considered the king of soccer in his heyday, Kama “made a whole pavilion lean at Brook fields Stadium,” wrote veteran sports writer Kabs Kanu.
He was “one of Africa’s greatest footballers –the legendary Sierra Leone center forward of the 1960s and 70s,” Kanu added.
In this undated photograph taken May 2017 in Freetown, former soccer administrator Mr. Crispin Webber embraces veteran football star Kama Dumbuya.




“If Kama Dumbuya [were] young in this age when European and American soccer thrive on the back of contributions from African players, ... l…

THE DAY OF THE AFRICAN CHILD by Brian Sitta Kargbo

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On June 16, 1976, children in Soweto took to the streets in protest to add to the outcry started by Nelson Mandela, Desmond Tutu, Thambo Mbeki, and others in South Africa.
Frustrated with segregation, the students demanded  equal rights. Sadly, the demonstration resulted in the death of some 23 students. More than a hundred were injured.
Recognizing the gross violations, and the role played by these children in ending Apartheid, the Organization of African Unity (OAU), now known as the African Union, ratified the AFRICAN CHARTER ON THE RIGHTS AND WELFARE OF THE CHILD.

They also called for a global observance of the day, marking the horrendous attack on peaceful school pupils demonstrating against the injustice of Apartheid in South Africa.

Also recognizing the day, the United Nations (UN) declared 1979 as the "International Year of the Child," which set in motion the working group that drafted the CONVENTION ON THE RIGHTS OF a CHILD (CRC) in order to give a new face to chil…

Smile With Us School names house after Sylvia Blyden

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The Smile With Us Primary School has named a house after Dr. Sylvia. O. Blyden, Sierra Leone’s minister of Social Welfare, Gender and Children Affairs.

The new house, launched in time for sports day, is a sub-unit of the school, where each student is allocated to one house as a group or a team.

The house is also using the moniker “Sia Kissi” and will be identified by its symbol color, pink.

Sia Kissi house celebrates Dr. Blyden’s “exceptional work and contribution towards the empowerment and development of the entire Kissi kingdom, most especially for Kissi women,” the school authorities said.

The Smile With Us School is attached to an orphanage run by Mary Sesay, founder of the charity called Smile With Us Sierra Leone.

The Smile With Us Orphanage is mainly for children who lost their parents during the Ebola virus epidemic in Sierra Leone in 2014, and other vulnerable children in the Koindu community of Kissi.

Koindu is a town in Kailahun District in the Eastern Province of Sierra Le…