Jakarta expands graveyards as COVID-19 death toll mounts

Jakarta expands graveyards as COVID-19 death toll mounts

Man rides a heavy vehicle as he works for opening a new cemetery area for the COVID-19 victims in J
A man rides a heavy vehicle as he works to open a new cemetery area for COVID-19 victims in Jakarta, Indonesia, Feb 3, 2021. (Photo: REUTERS/Willy Kurniawan)

JAKARTA: As deaths from the COVID-19 pandemic mount in Indonesia, the capital's graveyards are expanding to keep up.

Struggling since last March to get the coronavirus under control in the world's fourth most populous nation, Indonesia has now surpassed 1 million confirmed cases and more than 30,000 deaths, the highest in Southeast Asia.

Ivan Nurcahyo, a spokesman for the Jakarta parks agency, said six new graveyard locations had been added in various areas across the city, with three already in use.

"In the past two weeks, and in the past few months, there has been a spike in a few areas where the burials have been carried out with (COVID-19) protocols," he said.

Aerial view shows heavy vehicles working for opening a new cemetery area for the COVID-19 victims i
An aerial view shows heavy vehicles working to open a new cemetery area for COVID-19 victims in Jakarta, Indonesia, Feb 3, 2021. (Photo: REUTERS/Willy Kurniawan)

The rising death toll, which public health experts say is likely far higher than the official figures, meant COVID-19 victims could be buried in family plots to take up less space.

READ: Commentary - Indonesia's questionable decision on vaccinating only those aged 18 to 59

"At the moment, in other cemeteries, we offer an option called a 'stack system' where the victim can be buried together with their family member or relatives," he said, adding that the option only applied if a new corpse was "stacked" in a grave above a relative who had died more than five years ago.

At Rorotan cemetery in North Jakarta on Wednesday (Feb 3), bulldozers were busy clearing land for the additional plots.

"Part of the area is used as a public cemetery and we are also preparing a new large burial area (for COVID-19)," said Nurcahyo. "In Rorotan there is an area of around 25ha and we plan to allocate 8,000 sq m."

BOOKMARK THIS: Our comprehensive coverage of the coronavirus outbreak and its developments

Download our app or subscribe to our Telegram channel for the latest updates on the coronavirus outbreak: https://cna.asia/telegram

Source: Reuters/dv

Bookmark