'Flooded with dead bodies...': Horrifying visuals from Delhi's crematoriums show grim reality of COVID-19 pandemic
AFP

The national capital is witnessing an eerie reality: patients running from pillar to post searching for hospital beds, morgues running out of stretchers and the cremation grounds bursting at the seams with funeral pyres.

Back to the wall, people have even utilised parking lots near cremation grounds to give the Covid-stricken some semblance of dignity in their final moments.

Under the high tin roof, 50 funeral pyres burned fiercely on Tuesday, the hot air filled with smoke, fine ash, and muted sobs of shell-shocked famlies.

Nearby, lying unattended on the floor, and in scores of parked vehicles, more corpses awaited their turn, which relatives were told would come 16 to 20 hours later. Shaking Delhi's spirit and soul, an unimaginable tragedy is unfolding at New Delhi's crematoriums struggling to cope with the deluge of the dead arriving at a frightening pace.

 A view of Subhash Nagar Crematorium where a long queue of Bodies of COVID-19 victims wait for cremation in New Delhi on Tuesday.
A view of Subhash Nagar Crematorium where a long queue of Bodies of COVID-19 victims wait for cremation in New Delhi on Tuesday.
ANI
A view of Subhash Nagar Crematorium where a long queue of Bodies of COVID-19 victims wait for cremation in New Delhi on Tuesday.
A view of Subhash Nagar Crematorium where a long queue of Bodies of COVID-19 victims wait for cremation in New Delhi on Tuesday.
ANI
'Flooded with dead bodies...': Horrifying visuals from Delhi's crematoriums show grim reality of COVID-19 pandemic
ANI
Workers are seen constructing makeshift platforms for funeral pyres inside the premises of a crematorium in New Delhi on April 27, 2021
Workers are seen constructing makeshift platforms for funeral pyres inside the premises of a crematorium in New Delhi on April 27, 2021
AFP
Workers are seen constructing makeshift platforms for funeral pyres inside the premises of a crematorium in New Delhi on April 27, 2021
Workers are seen constructing makeshift platforms for funeral pyres inside the premises of a crematorium in New Delhi on April 27, 2021
AFP

By official count, 3,601 people have died this month, of them 2,267 in the last seven days alone in the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic which is terrorising and tormenting the city. In all of February, the death toll was 57, and in March 117. As if the trauma of losing a loved one to the virus so suddenly is not enough, there is more grief in store for relatives who are not even able to give them a proper send-off.

They arrive at crematoriums with bodies, only to be turned away. They drive to another facility, and yet another, traversing the city with the mortal remains in personal cars or ambulances, desperately seeking a graceful exit for their father, mother, son or daughter from the material world.

The trauma is no less for the relatives of those who died of non-Covid causes but are being swept up in the collective national tragedy driven by the pandemic.

Family members and relatives perform the last rites amid the funeral pyres of victims who died of the Covid-19 coronavirus during mass cremation held at a crematorium in New Delhi on April 27, 2021.
Family members and relatives perform the last rites amid the funeral pyres of victims who died of the Covid-19 coronavirus during mass cremation held at a crematorium in New Delhi on April 27, 2021.
AFP
 A man reacts as he performs the last rites of his relative amid the funeral pyres of victims who died of the Covid-19 coronavirus during mass cremation held at a crematorium in New Delhi on April 27, 2021.
A man reacts as he performs the last rites of his relative amid the funeral pyres of victims who died of the Covid-19 coronavirus during mass cremation held at a crematorium in New Delhi on April 27, 2021.
AFP
A man sits next to the body of a victim who died of the Covid-19 coronavirus besides the burning pyre of another victim at a cremation ground in New Delhi on April 26, 2021.
A man sits next to the body of a victim who died of the Covid-19 coronavirus besides the burning pyre of another victim at a cremation ground in New Delhi on April 26, 2021.
AFP
A man stands amid burning pyres of victims who lost their lives due to the Covid-19 coronavirus at a cremation ground in New Delhi on April 26, 2021.
A man stands amid burning pyres of victims who lost their lives due to the Covid-19 coronavirus at a cremation ground in New Delhi on April 26, 2021.
AFP
Family members embrace each other amid burning pyres of victims who lost their lives due to the Covid-19 coronavirus at a cremation ground in New Delhi on April 26, 2021.
Family members embrace each other amid burning pyres of victims who lost their lives due to the Covid-19 coronavirus at a cremation ground in New Delhi on April 26, 2021.
AFP

Outside, ambulances and cars honked and competed for parking space but inside all one could hear was the crackling of dry wood from the burning pyres -- all 50 of them roaring simultaneously.

A few sobs arose over the sound of the fires, and one could hear the unemotional intonations of instructions being given by the crematorium staff.

Family members and ambulance workers in PPE kits (Personal Protection Equipment) carry the bodies of victims who died of the Covid-19 coronavirus at a crematorium in New Delhi on April 27, 2021.
Family members and ambulance workers in PPE kits (Personal Protection Equipment) carry the bodies of victims who died of the Covid-19 coronavirus at a crematorium in New Delhi on April 27, 2021.
AFP
Family members and ambulance workers wearing PPE kits (Personal Protection Equipment) carry the bodies of patients who died of the Covid-19 coronavirus during mass cremation held at a crematorium in New Delhi on April 27, 2021.
Family members and ambulance workers wearing PPE kits (Personal Protection Equipment) carry the bodies of patients who died of the Covid-19 coronavirus during mass cremation held at a crematorium in New Delhi on April 27, 2021.
AFP
Family members and relatives wearing PPE kits (Personal Protection Equipment) perform the last rites of victims who died of the Covid-19 coronavirus during mass cremation held at a crematorium in New Delhi on April 27, 2021.
Family members and relatives wearing PPE kits (Personal Protection Equipment) perform the last rites of victims who died of the Covid-19 coronavirus during mass cremation held at a crematorium in New Delhi on April 27, 2021.
AFP
Family members and ambulance worker wearing PPE kit (Personal Protection Equipment) carry the bodies of the patients who died of the Covid-19 coronavirus at a cremation ground in New Delhi on April 27, 2021.
Family members and ambulance worker wearing PPE kit (Personal Protection Equipment) carry the bodies of the patients who died of the Covid-19 coronavirus at a cremation ground in New Delhi on April 27, 2021.
AFP
Burning funeral pyres can be seen of the patients who died of the Covid-19 coronavirus at a crematorium in New Delhi on April 27, 2021.
Burning funeral pyres can be seen of the patients who died of the Covid-19 coronavirus at a crematorium in New Delhi on April 27, 2021.
AFP
Burning funeral pyres can be seen of the patients who died of the Covid-19 coronavirus at a crematorium in New Delhi on April 27, 2021.
Burning funeral pyres can be seen of the patients who died of the Covid-19 coronavirus at a crematorium in New Delhi on April 27, 2021.
AFP
A priest reads the bible during the last rites of a person who died of coronavirus, at a Christian cemetery in New Delhi, Tuesday, April 27, 2021.
A priest reads the bible during the last rites of a person who died of coronavirus, at a Christian cemetery in New Delhi, Tuesday, April 27, 2021.
PTI

The chaos at the crematoriums has raised questions about the Delhi government's preparedness for the second wave, which Chief Minister Arvind Kerjriwal said, had left the healthcare system on the brink of collapse. Many deaths have also been attributed to a severe oxygen shortage for the last 10 days.

(To receive our E-paper on whatsapp daily, please click here. We permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)

Free Press Journal

www.freepressjournal.in