These Intrepid Volunteers Bury COVID-19 Victims

This heartening news comes to us from India.

Wasim Zubair is one among 23 volunteers who are part of NGO “Helping Hands”, an organization that is doing much to ease the burden of COVID-19 victims. He begins his day with the morning prayers after which he goes to the burial ground at Quddus Saheb Edgar at 5:30 in the morning sharp to receive the list of the dead who will be brought there for burial.

During the COVID-19 scare, many families are reluctant and hesitant to handle the bodies of the elderly loved ones fearing contamination. This is where Wasim and his band of brothers come in. They stay at the burial grounds till 10pm, aware that they are the last line as far as burial of COVID-19 victims is concerned.

Wasim and his fellow undertakers don PPE suits, in which it is very sweaty and uncomfortable. After a burial takes place, they change the PPE suit. They receive no incentive for their thoughtful task and also run the risk of contracting the virus from the dead bodies they handle.

Abdul Muheeb the founder of Helping Hands explains that in April they would see that the families where there was a Coronavirus victim would struggle to complete the last rites in a humane manner. A lot of them would also not turn up for the burial, fearing contamination. He saw that many of the family members would not be in the right frame of mind and this prompted him to intervene with burial services. Abdul says that the happiness they get from helping families perform the last rites is way beyond compensation for their job.

Till today the team has completed more than 100 burials. Abdul says that the fear of the virus has gripped a lot of people all over the world, insomuch as seeing a son unwilling to perform the last rites of his father. The folks at Helping Hands ask one or two family members to accompany them so that they know where the grave is located. They are also given PPE kits so they do not become contaminated.

Wasim and his companions place a 10m by 10m cloth on the ground both vertically as well as horizontally. Using the handles provided by the body bag, they then lift the dead body from the stretcher onto the cloth. The cloth is then lifted and lowered, carrying the body, into the grave. They perform the last Namaz also, giving the families peace of mind. After the whole operation, the stretcher is also sanitized.

Helping Hands employ a JCB that digs 30 graves at the burial ground early in the morning so that there  is no dearth of graves later on in the day. Because Wasim and his coworkers employ sanitary measures, till today, nobody has been infected. Wasim signs off by saying that most of the team members happen to be youngsters, and their tagline is “Making it Possible by His grace”. They do not charge a single rupee from the families of the deceased, depending on donations from common folks for procurement of the PPE kits.

Image Source: TBS News

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