Nigambodh Ghat in Delhi, which has been a designated crematorium for Covid victims, saw a sudden rise in the number of bodies after the second wave of the pandemic hit the country and capital Delhi. Grieving relatives had to stand in queues for interminable hours as the cremation ground became a sea of burning pyres and its electric burners billowed out spirals of smoke.
Nigambodh Ghat in Delhi, which has been a designated crematorium for Covid victims, saw a sudden rise in the number of bodies after the second wave of the pandemic hit the country and capital Delhi. Grieving relatives had to stand in queues for interminable hours as the cremation ground became a sea of burning pyres and its electric burners billowed out spirals of smoke.
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New Delhi: Ever since the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic struck, the national capital has witnessed its worst healthcare nightmare — long queues outside hospitals for beds, patients panting for breath but there is not enough medical oxygen – and crematoria or burial grounds are overwhelmed with a surge in the number of bodies.

People ran from one corner to another in search of oxygen and medicines for family members, while overburdened hospitals, crematoria and Covid care facilities bore testament to the nightmare, even as makeshift facilities sprung up to fill in for hospitals and private organisations stepped in to help with resources.

By the first half of April, Delhi was reporting more than 20,000 cases every day, with daily deaths rising to over 400. The Seemapuri crematorium, designated for Covid bodies, burnt hundreds of bodies every day.

I have never seen a crematorium this full, with people waiting in queues for hours for last rites of a dear one. One of the workers at the crematorium told me about two bodies that were abandoned by the family members as they did not want to wait in the queue, finding it unsafe for themselves.

Outside LNJP Hospital, one of Delhi’s biggest Covid facilities, the relatives of the family members sat on the footpath waiting to hear a word of hope. The patients inside were battling against Covid. A man came running to me for help, looking for a bed for his mother whose oxygen level had dipped to around 45. There was bed available at LNJP. I couldn’t do anything.

The atmosphere was morbid everywhere, to put it mildly. The last farewells were a difficult image to capture on camera. As a photojournalist, these are testing times for us too. Desperate patients and families looking up to us hoping we could help makes us more helpless. There were moments when just doing my daily job, that of clicking photos, seemed the most difficult task in the world.

The capital region has witnessed more than 400 death each day. Daughter folding her hands standing in front of her father cremation in Ghazipur cremation ground | Suraj Singh Bisht | ThePrint
A daughter with folded hands in front of her father’s funeral pyre at the Ghazipur cremation ground. The capital saw 18,169 funerals in April, of which 8,693 involved Covid patients | Suraj Singh Bisht | ThePrint
The NCR region was equally hit during the second wave. At a crematorium in Ghazipur a cow entered the covid ground looking for food | Suraj Singh Bisht | ThePrint
The entire Delhi-NCR was just as grim. At the Ghazipur crematorium, a cow wandered around the burning pyres looking for food | Suraj Singh Bisht | ThePrint
At the Ghazipur crematorium the bodies were used to make a queue. The crematorium was burning around 4-50 bodies everyday | Suraj Singh Bisht | ThePrint
Bodies made a queue at Ghazipur. The crematorium was burning anything from four to 50 bodies each day | Suraj Singh Bisht | ThePrint
A common visual outside mortuary, hospitals and crematoriums. Family members holding each other, trying to cope with the pain | Suraj Singh Bisht | ThePrint
A common sight outside mortuary, hospitals and crematoria — family members clinging to each other, trying to cope with the pain of loss | Suraj Singh Bisht | ThePrint
Crematorium workers have been working at the crematorium for longer hours. They collect the ashes of Covid-19 bodies | Suraj Singh Bisht | ThePrint
Crematorium workers have to toil for longer hours now. In this photograph, one of them can be seen collecting the ashes, gently and with respect, after a Covid victim’s body was consigned to the flames | Suraj Singh Bisht | ThePrint
At Shehnai banquet an old woman uses oxygen cylinder to breathe. The family members of patients were quite happy with the facility, they said the doctors are taking good care | Suraj Singh Bisht | ThePrint
An elderly woman sucks in air from an oxygen cylinder at Shehnai banquet hall, which was converted into a Covid care facility, near LNJP Hospital. Family members of the patients said they were happy with the arrangements and doctors are taking good care | Suraj Singh Bisht | ThePrint
The Shehnai banquet hall is a covid facility that was opened last year. The facility is currently overburdened unlike last year. This facility did not have oxygen cylinders, but it does have now, as most of the patients complaint of breathing difficulties | Suraj Singh Bisht | ThePrint
The Shehnai banquet hall, which was opened as a Covid facility last year, is overburdened now. It did not have oxygen facility earlier, but it does now as most patients complain of difficulty in breathing | Suraj Singh Bisht | ThePrint
Some organisations started 'oxygen langars' at several places in Delhi-NCR for patients complaining of shortness of breath due to Covid infection. These 'langars' also felt overburdened, witnessing large crowds throughout the day | Suraj Singh Bisht | ThePrint
Some organisations started ‘oxygen langars’ at several places in Delhi-NCR for patients complaining of shortness of breath due to Covid infection. These ‘langars’ also felt overburdened, witnessing large crowds throughout the day | Suraj Singh Bisht | ThePrint
People stood in queues since morning to get oxygen cylinder filled for their family members. This shop is Bhogal witnesses huge rush, and the crowd still continues | Suraj Singh Bisht | ThePrint
People can be seen standing in queues from morning to get their empty oxygen cylinders refilled for their patients suffering from Covid. This shop in Bhogal witnesses huge rush all day | Suraj Singh Bisht | ThePrint
Delhi's LNJP has been busiest since the beginning of pandemic. But this time it was overburdened, with patients in ambulances standing in queue, waiting to get a bed in the covid ward. This patient sitting with support of oxygen, was waiting in the car to get a bed | Suraj Singh Bisht | ThePrint
Delhi’s LNJP Hospital has been the busiest since the beginning of the pandemic. During the second wave, things were worse, with patients in ambulances lining up outsde, waiting to get a bed. This patient, sitting with oxygen support, was waiting in his car to get a bed inside | Suraj Singh Bisht | ThePrint
Around Delhi and NCR, the Sikh committee have organised oxygen langar. In the facility, a doctor checks the oxygen levels of a patient | Suraj Singh Bisht | ThePrint
Around Delhi and NCR, Sikh organisations have organised ‘oxygen langars’ at several places. In this facility, a doctor checks the oxygen level of a patient | Suraj Singh Bisht | ThePrint
At the Indirapuran Gurdwara, a man uses concentrator to breathe. The gurudwara has provided oxygen cylinders as well for the patients | Suraj Singh Bisht | ThePrint
At Indirapuram gurdwara, a man uses an oxygen concentrator to breathe | Suraj Singh Bisht | ThePrint
A covid patient was being shifted from one ambulance to another as the oxygen in the cylinder finishes in the ambulance outside LNJP | Suraj Singh Bisht | ThePrint
A Covid patient being taken out of an ambulance after oxygen in the cylinder got over, outside LNJP Hospital. She was shifted to another ambulance as her wait for a bed continued | Suraj Singh Bisht | ThePrint
Outside LNJP hospital, family members waiting for help. This man carried a oxygen cylinder for his pregnant wife who was sitting in the car inside | Suraj Singh Bisht | ThePrint
Outside LNJP Hospital, relatives wait, hoping for some help. This man carried a oxygen cylinder for his pregnant wife who was sitting in a car waiting for a bed | Suraj Singh Bisht | ThePrint

Also read: Funerals jump 166% but less than half listed as Covid deaths shows Delhi’s real toll is higher


 

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