'Death is the only truth' - watching India's funeral pyres burn

The grim business of organising mass cremations offers a glimpse of the deadly trail left by Covid-19

Mourners at a crematorium in Ghazipur, Uttar Pradesh, on Saturday. Crippling shortages of oxygen and hospital beds have resulted in many Covid-19 deaths in India. In Ghazipur, a carpark is being used to cope with the greater demand for cremations, which are done in one big blaze in the evening.PHOTO: AFP

NEW DELHI (NYTIMES) - The first 36 corpses were placed in the designated concrete cremation pits and set ablaze by 10 in the morning. After that, all the extra bodies went to the muddy parking lot, for a mass ceremony later.

Last Wednesday, ambulances doubling up as hearses lined up along the narrow street outside the Ghazipur crematory, on the city's eastern border. There were no cremation pits in the parking lot, so hospital attendants in protective equipment carried out the dead and placed them near the scorch marks left behind by the previous day's pyres.

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