India coronavirus: Round-the-clock mass cremations

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Harrowing scenes from India show the extent of the crisis gripping the nation as the second wave of coronavirus brings the death toll to over 200,000.

This article contains images some people may find upsetting.

image copyrightDanish Siddiqui / Reuters
image captionPeople cremate the bodies of Covid victims at a crematorium in Delhi

India has seen more Covid cases in the last seven days than any other country.

People have died waiting for beds, as oxygen supplies run low and hospitals buckle under the strain.

Now crematoriums are also running out of space, with some operating non-stop and workers saying they haven't had a break from performing last rites.

In Hinduism, cremation is traditionally the most important part of the funeral rites because Hindus believe the body must be destroyed to force the soul to separate from it.

In the Indian capital Delhi, workers have been forced to build makeshift funeral pyres, with parks and other empty spaces being utilised for cremations.

Authorities have reportedly cut down trees in city parks to use as firewood.

Families have had to wait hours before being allowed to cremate their dead and have also been asked to help with cremations by piling wood and assisting in other rituals.

Here are pictures from Delhi showing workers and relatives taking part in cremations.

image copyrightNaveen Sharma/SOPA Images/Shutterstock
image captionA family member wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) carries wood to prepare a funeral pyre for their relative at a cremation ground
image copyrightAdnan Abidi / Reuters
image captionA health worker walks past prepared funeral pyres
image copyrightAdnan Abidi / Reuters
image captionPeople prepare funeral pyres for a mass cremation (above and below)
image copyrightAdnan Abidi / Reuters
image copyrightAmarjeet Kumar Singh / Shutterstock
image copyrightDanish Siddiqui / Reuters
image captionFuneral pyres have been burning round the clock in some places
image copyrightDanish Siddiqui / Reuters
image copyrightAdnan Abidi / Reuters
image captionCrematorium staff have worked without breaks
image copyrightAdnan Abidi / Reuters
image captionThere has been a huge rise in demand for cremations as Covid deaths soared in recent weeks
image copyrightDanish Siddiqui / Reuters
image captionAn aerial drone photo shows mass cremations burning next to a neighbourhood in Delhi
image copyrightAdnan Abidi / Reuters
image captionThis boy is mourning his father in Delhi
image copyrightAdnan Abidi / Reuters
image captionHere two Delhi residents wearing PPE mourn their relative
image copyrightAdnan Abidi / Reuters
image captionOthers comfort each other in their grief
image copyrightAdnan Abidi / Reuters
image captionFamilies have had to wait hours before being allowed to cremate their dead
image copyrightAdnan Abidi / Reuters
image captionFamily members sit next to burning funeral pyres
image copyrightAdnan Abidi / Reuters
image captionThe smoke clears in a crematorium

All pictures are subject to copyright.

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