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Cremation services at Pathum Thani temple struggle to keep up with rising death toll

Jack Arthur



PHOTO: the foreign photographer/Flickr

Thailand’s Covid cases continue to fall just short of 10,000 a day and deaths remain in the double digits but edging closer and closer to triple digits. This escalating situation is straining the morgues and cremation facilities.

One monk, 39 year old Pongpetch Santijittho, who works in a temple in central Thailand’s Pathum Thani spoke on the struggles of maintaining cremation services.

Pongpetch, decked out in a white protective suit disinfects a pair of rubber boots as part of his daily routine. Something he must do before he starts works.

His temple previously cremated 2 or 3 people a month. Currently, the temple cremates about 6 times that number.

The monk says he hasn’t seen any of his fellow monks for some time as he’s been too busy cremating. In fact, Pongpetch says he’s been doing the cremating and collecting ashes “from dusk until dawn”.

The temple is doing so many cremations they had to add a crematorium. The temple provides free cremation services to people who died from Covid. Pongpetch is in charge of the funeral rites. He does not work entirely alone, though. Pongpetch has volunteers who assist him in carrying the caskets.

Yesterday, only 1 person was able to attend a loved one’s funeral. 6 of the woman’s family members who had contacted Covid had to watch the cremation stream through a smartphone to them.

Pongpetch expressed his empathy for those who are losing their relatives from Covid. He says it’s tragic that they are unable to go to the funeral in person. He says he sends his support and will continue to do his best in the temple.

Earlier this week, the Thaiger wrote how one university hospital is going to rent shipping containers to supplement the influx of bodies that are overwhelming their morgue.

SOURCE: Chiang Rai Times


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Jack is from the USA, has a B.A. in English, and writes on a variety of topics. He lives in Thailand.

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