Video: Safe and Dignified Burials in Democratic Republic of Congo


The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is battling the second largest Ebola outbreak in history and the first-ever in a conflict zone. The number of cases has surpassed 1,800 and the death toll has exceeded 1,300. Bodies of Ebola victims are particularly infectious, with transmission of the disease often occurring at funerals where people help wash their loved ones before interment. Dahlia produced a video for IFRC to explain the vital need to let professional teams, who are trained to safely bury the body, carry out burials during this emotional time.

Burials have been a contentious issue in DRC. To prevent Ebola to spread, handling of dead bodies should be done by the Safe and Dignified Burial (SDB) teams. To engage with bereaved families can be challenging for the teams, who are often confronted with resistance from community members unwilling to adhere to the burial protocol. SDB teams are sometimes attacked, threatened and unable to carry out their mission. One of the main limitations for the Red Cross teams are the rumors surrounding these burials as well a general loss of trust of the affected community towards organizations leading the response.

The video produced by DAHLIA, at the request of IFRC, aims to explain to the local population the precautions and preventative measures needed for safe funerals. The video also insists on the fact that families and communities can actively participate to the SDB. Finally, it highlights the role of the women and men of SDB teams, often part of the same community, that undertake this challenging but live-saving mission.