India coronavirus: Round-the-clock mass cremations

Harrowing scenes from India show the extent of the crisis gripping the nation as the second wave of coronavirus brings the death toll to over 200,000.

This article contains images some people may find upsetting.

Workers and relatives stand around burning funeral pyres at night
People cremate the bodies of Covid victims at a crematorium in Delhi

India has seen more Covid cases in the last seven days than any other country.

People have died waiting for beds, as oxygen supplies run low and hospitals buckle under the strain.

Now crematoriums are also running out of space, with some operating non-stop and workers saying they haven’t had a break from performing last rites.

In Hinduism, cremation is traditionally the most important part of the funeral rites because Hindus believe the body must be destroyed to force the soul to separate from it.

In the Indian capital Delhi, workers have been forced to build makeshift funeral pyres, with parks and other empty spaces being utilised for cremations.

Authorities have reportedly cut down trees in city parks to use as firewood.

Families have had to wait hours before being allowed to cremate their dead and have also been asked to help with cremations by piling wood and assisting in other rituals.

Here are pictures from Delhi showing workers and relatives taking part in cremations.

A person sits on the ground clutching wood at a cremation ground in New Delhi, India
A family member wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) carries wood to prepare a funeral pyre for their relative at a cremation ground
A health worker wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) walks past a row of wrapped bodies of Covid victims lying on prepared funeral pyres in New Delhi, India
A health worker walks past prepared funeral pyres
People prepare funeral pyres for a mass cremation in New Delhi, India
People prepare funeral pyres for a mass cremation (above and below)
A man wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) stands next to funeral pyres in New Delhi, India
Relatives wearing PPE kit (Personal Protection Equipment) mourn next to funeral pyres at a crematorium in New Delhi, India
People wait to cremate Covid victims whilst surrounded by burning funeral pyres in New Delhi, India
Funeral pyres have been burning round the clock in some places
Funeral pyres burn in a crematorium in New Delhi, India
Health workers carry wood for funeral pyres in New Delhi, India
Crematorium staff have worked without breaks
A woman wearing PPE stands next to the body of a family member in New Delhi, India
There has been a huge rise in demand for cremations as Covid deaths soared in recent weeks
An aerial view of cremations in New Delhi, India
An aerial drone photo shows mass cremations burning next to a neighbourhood in Delhi
A boy mourns his father, who died from Covid, in New Delhi, India
This boy is mourning his father in Delhi
Relatives wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) mourn next to the body of a relative in New Delhi, India
Here two Delhi residents wearing PPE mourn their relative
Relatives attend the cremation of a Covid victim in New Delhi, India
Families have had to wait hours before being allowed to cremate their dead
Family members sit next to the burning funeral pyres in New Delhi, India
Family members sit next to burning funeral pyres
A family member wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) stands next to a body of a person in crematorium as smoke hangs in the air
The smoke clears in a crematorium

Source: India coronavirus: Round-the-clock mass cremations – BBC News

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