June 12, 2021

Cemeteries overwhelmed, Dead bodies exhumed to make room for more coronavirus deaths in Mexico

Mexican cemetry

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With thousands of dead and counting, Mexico has been hit so hard by the coronavirus pandemic that many of its cemeteries are being overwhelmed.

Photojournalist Jonathan Alpeyrie, author of “The Shattered Lens,” has been documenting the coronavirus crisis in Mexico and shared these images with CBS News.

In Mexico City, the dead usually lay peacefully for decades in public cemeteries. Now, laws limiting burial rights – specifically the length of time a body can be buried – are being enforced around parts of the country because cemeteries are running out of room for the dead. 

Emptied coffins

It’s a widespread issue related to the coronavirus pandemic and is complicated by an overcrowded system,

Photojournalist Jonathan Alpeyrie said deaths in Mexico are putting a heavy strain on cemeteries and crematoriums in major cities throughout the country.

The main municipal cemetery in Nezahualcoyotl, Mexico, has been running out of space due to an influx of COVID-19 deaths.

The pandemic has put such strain on the government funeral system that remains of locals long dead are being removed from their burial sites to make room for the daily arrival of corpses.

The law allows bodies to be removed from the above-ground tombs after six years to make room for new arrivals. “We have seen this firsthand, and it is quite difficult to watch, ” He said

A lot of family members in Mexico do not want the authorities to know that their family members died of the virus because usually bodies are cremated as soon as this is found out, ” 

Photo credit:Jonathan Alpeyrie

CBS News

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