Myanmar charities are tense due to the surge in deaths

Bangkok (AP) — Myanmar charities are dying so rapidly on Wednesday in cities in countries facing a surge in coronavirus and a lack of oxygen to treat patients. , They said they were having a hard time catching up with the funeral arrangements.

According to funeral workers, the crematorium in Yangon, the country’s largest city, works from morning till night. The city’s busiest Yay Way Cemetery staff said the three crematoriums operate non-stop from 8 am to 5 pm.

Like most funeral workers, he urged him not to name him because the government is sensitive to dealing with the COVID-19 crisis. The government of military installations, which seized power in February, has regularly arrested critics for fake news or statements deemed offensive to public order and morals.

The exact number of daily cremations and burials has not been announced by city officials, but charitable officials and unofficial social media estimates have recently brought more than 100 bodies to the Yeway Cemetery daily. Cremation, more than 200 are carried on Wednesday. Other graveyards in the city also report more than usual.

This number is higher than was seen before the recent virus surge, which may suggest that the official death toll in COVID-19 cases is underestimated.

The coronavirus crisis received little attention in the aftermath of the military seizure of power in February. It caused a wave of protests and fierce political conflicts that destroyed the public health system.

In the last few weeks when testing and reporting of COVID-19 cases began to recover, it became clear that the third wave of the virus, which began in mid-May, was rapidly increasing the number of cases and deaths. ..

Workers from several charities have said that, on condition of anonymity, it has even become difficult to find enough ambulances to bring the dead to a graveyard in Yangon.

“Even the bodies from yesterday couldn’t be delivered by ambulance until this afternoon. It’s also very difficult to find an ambulance. The death toll is increasing by about 10 people per day,” he said. Says Ba Shwe, a veteran philanthropist who is willing to be quoted. He works with a group that arranges funerals and also helps oversee the quarantine center.

A charity worker operating in the northern Okarapa district of Yangon said seven ambulance drivers were able to carry 50 bodies daily. In some cases, when they couldn’t carry all the bodies they had, they had to hand them over to another charity for processing, workers said.

Privately funded charities do not handle the bodies of people identified as dead in COVID-19. This is because COVID-19 is limited to city government workers.

However, they say that many of the deaths they deal with were people with insufficient oxygen supply. Often, people are taking oxygen because they have COVID-19 symptoms. Over the past week, the city of town has been queuing for equipment such as oxygen and canisters, both of which are in short supply.

On Wednesday, the Ministry of Health announced 7,083 newly confirmed COVID-19 cases, bringing the total to 208,357 and 145 new deaths, bringing the total to 4,181 since the pandemic began. became.

Myanmar’s UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Tom Andrews said Wednesday that the situation poses a “serious loss of life” threat unless the international community provides emergency assistance.

“The explosion of COVID incidents, including delta variants, the collapse of Myanmar’s health system, and the deep distrust of the Myanmar people in everything related to military junta, is the perfect storm for such a disaster,” Andrews said. I will. A statement issued by the United Nations office in Geneva.


Berlin Associated Press writer Geir Moulson contributed to this report.

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