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India Covid: Delhi builds makeshift funeral pyres as deaths climb

Ns News Online DeskNs News Online Desk: Crematoriums in the Indian capital Delhi have been forced to build makeshift funeral pyres, as the city runs out of space to cremate its dead.

Staff are working around the clock, while parks and other empty spaces are also being utilized for cremations.

Families have had to wait hours before being allowed to cremate their dead due to the rise in demand.

Deaths have been surging in India as a second wave of infections devastates the country.

The rising number of deaths – 380 were recorded in Delhi alone on Monday – has left crematoriums in urgent need of space.

At the capital city’s Sarai Kale Khan crematorium, at least 27 new pyres have been built and dozens more are being added in a nearby park. Officials are also looking for additional space near the city’s Yamuna river bed. The Ghazipur crematorium in East Delhi has added 20 more pyres in a car park. One official told the Indian Express newspaper that there was a waiting time of three to four hours for cremation, with each body taking up to six hours to burn.

The situation is serious at other crematoriums too. Sunil Kumar Aledia, who runs the Centre for Holistic Development, an organization that is providing assistance with oxygen, meals and cremations, told  that some do not have any space to expand. Relatives carry firewood for use in funeral pyres

How serious is the situation in India?

India has recorded more than a million Covid-19 cases in just a few days. Ambulances, medical oxygen, intensive care unit (ICU) beds and life-saving medicines are all in short supply.

At least two hospitals in Delhi have seen patients die after oxygen supplies ran out. It is becoming difficult for families to take their sick to hospitals even if they manage to find a bed, and many people have died while waiting for one.The city’s testing capacity has also been overwhelmed.

Social media is awash with frantic pleas for help, with people desperately searching for oxygen cylinders, medicines and ICU beds.

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