Friday, January 28, 2022

Mass cremations as Delhi faces Deluge of Covid deaths

India recorded the world’s highest daily tally of 3,14,835 coronavirus infections on Thursday, with the second wave of the pandemic crushing the country’s health infrastructure. In Delhi alone, where hospitals are running out of medical oxygen supplies, the daily rise was over 26,000.

People losing loved ones in Delhi, where 306 people have died of COVID-19 in the last 24 hours, are turning to makeshift facilities that are undertaking mass burials and cremations as crematoriums come under pressure.

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Jitender Singh Shunty who runs a non-profit medical service, the Shaheed Bhagat Singh Sewa Dal, said as of Thursday afternoon 60 bodies had been cremated at the makeshift facility in the parking lot and 15 others were still waiting.

“No one in Delhi would have ever witnessed such a scene. Children who were 5 years old, 15 years old, 25 years old are being cremated. Newlyweds are being cremated. It’s difficult to watch,” said a teary-eyed Mr Shunty.

Mr Shunty, dressed in protective gear and a bright yellow turban, said last year during the peak of the first wave the maximum number of bodies he helped cremate in a single day was 18, while the average was eight to 10 a day.

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On Tuesday, 78 bodies were cremated in that one place alone, he said.

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