Deaths climb as India reels from deadly Covid waveon April 24, 2021 at 11:24 pm

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Heart-wrenching images from crematoriums across the country capture the true toll of the virus.

A mass cremation of victims who died due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), is seen at a crematorium ground in New Delhi, India, April 22, 2021.

image copyrightReuters

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.

A relative wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) rests on a bench from exhaustation before performing the last rites for COVID-19 victims during their funeral at a cremation ground in Vasai, on the outskirts of Mumbai, India, 13 April 2021

image copyrightEPA

A relative leans against a glass window at the crematorium where a family member who died from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is prepared for cremation, in New Delhi, India, April 9, 2021.

image copyrightReuters

A health worker wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) stands next to the body of a man, who died from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), before his cremation, at a crematorium in New Delhi, India April 21, 2021.

image copyrightReuters

Burning funeral pyres at a crematorium in Lucknow city, ne of the worst-hit in India.

image copyrightSumit Kumar

Relatives and municipal workers wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) perform the last rites for COVID-19 victims during their funeral at a cremation ground in Vasai, on the outskirts of Mumbai, India, 13 April 2021.

image copyrightEPA

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