Crematoriums and burial facilities in India are struggling to cope with a spike in deaths due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Bloomberg reported on Tuesday.
“Earlier 15 to 20 bodies were coming in a day and now around 80 to 100 dead bodies are coming daily. We can’t afford to have long queues of people at the crematorium, as that again increases the risk of spreading infection. The situation is likely to worsen going ahead as hospitals across the city are filled to capacity,” Kamlesh Sailor, who works as a president of a trust in a crematorium in Surat told Bloomberg.
The report added that Indian prime minister Narendra Modi and his administration have been unprepared amid a surge in crowded gatherings, religious pilgrimages and other events. Experts believe the country has also underreported fatalities, namely in rural villages, and have only medically certified 20 to 30 percent of all deaths.
“There was a lull period in January and February with a much lower number of Covid deaths, but now in the last three weeks it is overflowing,” Namrata Singh, chief executive at private funeral service provider Antim Yatra, said in a statement.
Nigambodh Ghat, the capital's largest crematorium near the Yamuna river, provisions have been made to "increase the number of wood pyres and have also planned for additional manpower,” North Delhi Municipal Corporation mayor Jai Prakash said.
The news comes a day after the World Health Organisation (WHO) warned the pandemic was reaching a "critical point" as new cases were "growing exponentially" despite national lockdown measures and restrictions from national governments.