Friday, April 17, 2020

Mass graves dug at London cemetery to cope with coronavirus deaths

Rows of graves are being pre-dug in a south east London cemetery for Muslim victims of the coronavirus pandemic.

The plots are being dug at Kemnal Park Cemetery in Chislehurst to cope with the large numbers of deaths in the Islamic community.

A ‘disproportionate’ number of coronavirus deaths are among people from ethnic minority communities.

The first 10 doctors named as having died from coronavirus in the UK were all from BAME backgrounds.

The gravediggers have the grim task of anticipating more demand, and are pre-digging rows of individual graves to save time.

Burial is usually within 24 hours of death in Islam, while cremation is completely forbidden.

The pandemic, however, has meant some Muslim families are being forced to wait two weeks to bury their loved ones.

The bodies are being buried individually in the 10x2m 'saff graves' at the cemetery's Eternal Gardens Muslim Ground, surrounded by wood and earth, as per tradition.

It is one of only two dedicated Muslim burial grounds in London.

Two rows of graves, which are 1.5m in depth and take up to half a day to dig, have been completed so far with plans for six more.

The Mail reports funeral directors have said as many as 50 people are still waiting to be buried, with the Eternal Gardens seeing requests for up to 10 burials a day - five times the usual.