Wednesday, 29 June, 2022
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In Ahmedabad, wait for last rites gets longer as bodies pile up at crematoriums

For families of deceased Covid patients, it's a long wait — from queuing up outside morgues to get bodies of their loved ones to finding a place for cremation.

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Ahmedabad: As Covid-19 cases rise exponentially across the country, people in the state of Gujarat suffer in silence. For many families, it’s an endless wait before they get a bed at a hospital or find a place for burial.

In Apnu Amdavad, the wait for an ambulance can get as long as up to 15 hours. And once you get an ambulance, the queue to get into a hospital is just as painstakingly long.

If the patient is lucky enough, they will get a bed and good care. If not, the endless wait continues. Relatives of Covid positive patients then have to frantically look for plasma donors, medicines and other facilities.

The queue doesn’t end here. Families of deceased Covid patients have to wait for hours outside morgues before they get bodies of their loved ones. As the city runs out of hearses,  the dead are being carried in tempos and cars.

At crematoriums, the families are being asked to wait for up to 4 hours. As bereaved family members wait to cremate their loved ones, they say, “Ama kaunu vaank che? Smashan walo toh becharo 4 kalak thi kaam kare che (Whose fault is it ? The poor undertaker has been working for the last four hours).”

For relatives of the deceased, piling up the wooden pyre for their loved ones on their own is the only escape from the long queues.

After waiting for 5 hours, 55-year-old Makena Powella had to set up the wooden pyre for his uncle’s last rites.

He told ThePrint, “As per government orders, Covid bodies are supposed to be exhumed in the CNG-run electrical furnaces. I have been waiting since 1 pm for my turn, it has been five hours. How long do they expect me to wait? There is no undertaker to help or set up the pyre. I had to make the pyre myself, where is the dignity for families ? Why is the government harassing us?”

As bodies pile up and melting furnaces run non-stop in Ahmedabad’s crematoriums, another relative of a deceased tells ThePrint, “If this is the beginning of Kalyug, we don’t want to live to see the end.”

A woman grieves over the loss of her loved one at Isanpur Crematorium | Photo: Praveen Jain | ThePrint
A woman grieves after the death of a family member at Isanpur crematorium | Photo: Praveen Jain | ThePrint
Lack of ambulances has forced people to bring their deceased in tempos | Photo: Praveen Jain | ThePrint
Lack of ambulances has forced people to carry bodies in tempos | Photo: Praveen Jain | ThePrint
Women of a family wait to receive the body of their loved one at Civil Hospital Mortuary | Photo: Praveen Jain | ThePrint
Women outside Civil Hospital Mortuary wait to receive the body of a family member who died of Covid | Photo: Praveen Jain | ThePrint
Waiting for his turn, as the queue for last rites last for as long as 4 hours bodies are stacked on pyres waiting for turn at cremation | Photo: Praveen Jain | ThePrint
People are being asked to wait outside crematoriums for as long as 4 hours | Photo: Praveen Jain | ThePrint
The wait continues, as day turns to night the dead wait for their turn at crematoriums in Ahmedabad | Photo: Praveen Jain | ThePrint
In Ahmedabad’s crematoriums, bodies are piling up and melting furnaces are running non-stop | Photo: Praveen Jain | ThePrint
This 100 year old man couldn't outlive Covid, waiting for his turn at Thaltej crematorium | Photo: Praveen Jain | ThePrint
A family waits to perform the last rites of a 100-year-old man at Thaltej crematorium | Photo: Praveen Jain | ThePrint
The last memory, a man clicks pictures if his father before he is cremated in Ellisbridge | Photo: Praveen Jain | ThePrint
The last memory: A man clicks a picture of his father before he is cremated, at Ellisbridge | Photo: Praveen Jain | ThePrint
One burns while the other waits for his turn, as bodies queue up the wait can last as long as 3 hours at Ellisbridge crematorium | Photo: Praveen Jain | ThePrint
A burning pyre at Ellisbridge crematorium | Photo: Praveen Jain | ThePrint
The deceased are queued up for their last rites, this body waits for his turn in Hatkeshwar Crematorium | Photo: Praveen Jain | ThePrint
Wait for final rites gets longer as crematoriums in the state are overburdened | Photo: Praveen Jain | ThePrint
A man exhausted by the wait, lays down with the puja material for the vidhi | Photo: Praveen Jain | ThePrint
An exhausted man waits to perform last rites of his family member | Photo: Praveen Jain | ThePrint
Relatives of Covid positive patients queue up for body collection outside Civil Hospital | Photo: Praveen Jain | ThePrint
People queue up outside Civil Hospital morgue to collect bodies of their patients | Photo: Praveen Jain | ThePrint
The incharge at Ellisbridge crematorium refused to speak to the media. He said the corporation has given us strict orders to not let media in | Photo: Praveen Jain | ThePrint
The incharge at Ellisbridge crematorium refused to speak to the media | Photo: Praveen Jain | ThePrint
Queues never end, a queue at the Civil Hospital testing center | Photo: Praveen Jain | ThePrint
A queue at the Civil Hospital testing centre | Photo: Praveen Jain | ThePrint
An undertaker rests after creating bodies for 8 hours straight | Photo: Praveen Jain | ThePrint
An undertaker sits down after performing lasts rites for 8 hours | Photo: Praveen Jain | ThePrint
At dusk sets in the queue of ambulances outside Ahmedabad Hospitals only grow longer | Photo: Praveen Jain | ThePrint
Ambulances lined up outside Ahmedabad hospital | Photo: Praveen Jain | ThePrint
Undertakers of the night shift prepare to start their work, at Juna Vadaj | Photo: Praveen Jain | ThePrint
Undertakers at a crematorium in Juna Vadaj | Photo: Praveen Jain | ThePrint
Grieving at the loss of a young life, old men walk put of the Jamalpur crematorium | Photo: Praveen Jain | ThePrint
Grieving at the loss of a young life, old men come out of the Jamalpur crematorium | Photo: Praveen Jain | ThePrint
A 15 year old grieves the loss of his elder brother, at Thaltej crematorium | Photo: Praveen Jain | ThePrint
A 15-year-old grieves the loss of his elder brother, at Thaltej crematorium | Photo: Praveen Jain | ThePrint

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