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The epidemic causes a new crisis in Peru. No cemetery area

LIMA, Peru (AP) – After the death of Joel Bautista from a heart attack in Peru last month, his family tried unsuccessfully to find the graves in various cemeteries. Four days later, they started digging a hole in his garden.

Excavations in the impoverished district of Lima were broadcast live on television, drawing the attention of the authorities, prompting their family to offer space on the rocky slopes of the cemetery.

“If there is no solution, then there will be space here,” Yeni Bautista told the Associated Press, explaining the family’s decision to dig at the foot of a retro hibiscus tree after his brother’s body began to decay.

The same situation is shared by other families in Peru. “After fighting the coronavirus epidemic for more than a year, the country is now facing a parallel crisis.” No cemetery area. The problem affects everyone, not just the relatives of COVID-19 victims;

The desperate lack of options comes at a time when the country is enduring its deadliest period of the epidemic to date. According to the Ministry of Health, more than 64,300 people died in Peru who tested positive for COVID-19, but that figure is almost certainly low. The Vital Records Agency estimates that the actual number is more than 174,900, including those whose possible infection has not been confirmed by the test.

Since April, the infected person has been dying every four minutes at home or in hospital. Եւ The hospital area was so cramped that Peruvians read on social media about kidneys, cars or families offering land for 85 2785 in the country. care beds.

Even when it comes to finding a cemetery site, cemeteries pose a huge financial burden, especially for families who have become poor because of COVID-19. The cost of a funeral at the cemetery on the edge of Lima is about $ 1,200, which is almost five times the minimum monthly wage of $ 244.

Retired merchant Victor Koba took matters into his own hands, building graves for himself, his wife and four other relatives in a narrow cemetery at the foot of a forest hill north of Lima.

Koba, 72, moved bricks and sand to where he and a friend began building his “eternal home.” He and his wife decided to act after watching the news and learning that two dozen neighbors had died from COVID-19.

“You feel quite anxious when there is no place to take them, there are no pennies to bury them,” Koba said.

Many of Peru’s most widespread cemeteries have grown up without development plans or government approval. They have no walls, fences, adjacent to irregular settlements, which sometimes make it almost impossible to determine where they end, where poor communities begin. Graves are now encroaching on settlements.

Only 20 of the 65 cemeteries in Lima have health licenses. One hides on a hidden hill for 24 years, does not require any burial documents costing $ 361.

“Many cemeteries are collapsing,” said Martin Anampa, an official from Carabaylo, Libya’s oldest municipality. “We are living through the poor planning process they have had throughout history.”

Juan Banez, 51, a father of two, died of COVID-19 while waiting in an ICU bed. His cousin Felix Albornoz and other friends recently carried the coffin across the cemetery to a dusty hill to be buried in the recently expanded area of ​​the cemetery.

“On the outskirts of Lima, in poor areas, people come to bury themselves in the hills,” Albornoz said. “There is no support. The government has left us. “

Returning to the Virgen de Fatima district on the far eastern tip of Lima, Joel Bautista died on May 1 at the age of 45. He was unemployed, but was helping his sister և nieces around the house, which they all shared.

He was a fan of the Mexican band Man- rock. Their song “Corazón Espinado” was constantly played during the awakening, which lasted longer than expected due to the struggle to find a place to bury him.

“Everything is at a critical juncture because of this epidemic we are going through,” said Yeni Bautista, 52. “Cemeteries are collapsing due to death from COVID, but that does not mean that they are going to cancel our territory. I do not want a huge area, but a small area to bury him. “

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