Delhi: 435 bodies in Nigambodh Ghat during 4-day peak heatwave

On June 18, 97 bodies came for the final rites. On June 19, about 142 pyres were burnt at Nigambodh ghat.
Nigambodh Ghat in New Delhi.
Nigambodh Ghat in New Delhi. File Photo | PTI

NEW DELHI: A comparison can be odious, but the spell of extreme heatwave that swept across the national capital in the last few days appeared frighteningly close to Covid-19-like situation, if body bags brought to Nigambodh Ghat, Delhi’s largest crematorium, are an indication. As many as 435 corpses were brought to the “last resting place” between June 18 and 21. Crematorium officials said the count is 225 more than the four days’ average.

On June 18, 97 bodies came for the final rites. On June 19, about 142 pyres were burnt at Nigambodh ghat. This figure is nearly thrice the average number of bodies that came to the ghat, and the highest daily toll since the pandemic when 253 cremations took place in a single day, according to officials.

Officially, it was not established that the deaths were caused due to heat-related illnesses. Yet it does find a link as the increase in the toll was

in proportion with the rise in the mercury and with the deaths reported at the major hospitals in the city. Officials have suspected that these deaths were caused due to heat-related illnesses.

Nigambodh Ghat in New Delhi.
Rain brings relief, IMD says heatwave to return

“On average, 55 cremations take place in a day. The number rises slightly during winters. This reminded me of Covid-19 period when corpses lined up here,” said Suman Kumar Gupta, in-charge of the Nigham Bodh Sanchalan Samiti.

On June 20, the Ghat received 124 bodies. However, with a change in the weather and a drop in the mercury on Friday, the influx of corpses reduced to 72 (till 10 pm).

Nigambodh Ghat in New Delhi.
Heatwave claims 70 lives in 10 days in national capital

However, Gupta said the dramatic rise in deaths reported on June 19 had started from June 16 when the influx of corpses rose to 70. It came down to 54 on June 17. The death toll corresponds with the average as told by Gupta on June 14 and 15, when the Ghat received 43 and 53 bodies, respectively.

Gupta said the number of bodies that arrived in that period saw a massive surge in deaths, were a mix of hospital fatalities, those who died at home, and deaths of homeless people cited by the police.

Nigambodh Ghat in New Delhi.
110 heatwave deaths reported, over 40,000 cases of suspected heatstroke between March 1 and June 18

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