'I'm Afraid the Body Will Start Decomposing': Long Waits at Crematorium in South India

A long line of ambulances waited outside a crematorium in Bengaluru, India, on April 29, as COVID deaths in the country mounted.

This footage was captured by Zameer Baig, a local volunteer, at the Panathur Crematorium in Bengaluru. Baig said he arrived at the crematorium at 9:30 am and was still waiting by 4 pm. He said, “I spoke to management inside, they told me it will be done by 11 pm, or else tomorrow morning.”

He said he was expecting to break his Ramadan fast while waiting outside the crematorium.

The crematorium is one of seven that have been allocated to exclusively serve victims of COVID-19 in the area, according to local media.

According to Baig, 15 ambulances were waiting outside the crematorium. He said four ambulances had left to go to a different crematorium due to the long wait.

Baig is a volunteer with the local organization Mercy Angels, and helps with the burial or cremation of people who died of COVID-19, local media reported. He told Storyful that people had left their “loved ones in the ambulances, because [they are] afraid of infection”.

India recorded 379,257 new cases of COVID-19 on April 29. Credit: Zameer Baig via Storyful