Deaths climb as India reels from deadly Covid wave

Deaths climb as India reels from deadly Covid wave thumbnail

image copyrightReuters

image captionMass funerals have begun in Delhi as crematoriums run out of space

Deaths have been steadily rising in India as critical care beds, medicines and oxygen fall short in an unrelenting wave of Covid infections.

The country has so far confirmed more than 186,000 deaths and 16 million cases – three million have been added just in the last two weeks. And it continues to see record single-day spikes, evidence of a curve that is far steeper than the first wave in mid-September last year.

And the devastating effect is evident in the images pouring in from crematoriums across the country – of anguished families waiting for hours to perform last rites, mass cremations as cities run out of space to honour the dead and incessant plumes of smoke from funeral pyres.

Journalists in various cities have challenged official figures, often spending days outside crematoriums to count the dead. Their estimates suggest that deaths in some cities are ten times higher than what is being reported.

BBC Gujarat reported last week that a crematorium in Surat city had been running for so long that the heat had begun to melt part of its chimney. But officials are yet to revise figures anywhere.

image copyrightEPA

image captionAn exhausted relative in PPE gear rests on a bench before performing the last rites for a Covid-19 victim in Mumbai city

image copyrightReuters

image captionA relative at a crematorium in Delhi where a family member who died from coronavirus is being prepared for cremation

image copyrightReuters

image captionA health worker stands next to the body of a man who died from Covid-19 before his cremation in Delhi

image copyrightSumit Kumar

image captionBurning funeral pyres at a crematorium in Lucknow city, one of the worst-hit in India

image copyrightEPA

image captionRelatives and municipal workers perform the last rites for Covid-19 victims at a cremation ground in Mumbai

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