Ten months after two earthquakes devastated Nepal, the bodies of 48 unidentified victims are rotting in a Kathmandu hospital because of the lack of refrigeration facilities.
Hospital authorities have asked the government to dispose of the body parts, kept in 33 packets, immediately as there is a fear of the spread of diseases.
“We believe the packets contain parts of 48 individuals. They are in very bad state as the refrigerated container stopped functioning two months ago,” said Rijen Shrestha of the Tribhuwan University Teaching Hospital (TUTH).
The bodies are of victims who lost their lives in Kathmandu Valley, Dolakha district and Langtang in Rasuwa district, a popular trekking route where more than 100 local residents and foreigners were believed to have died.
“We have identified the gender of some bodies. Some foreigners are there as well, but since many bodies were just skeletons when they were brought here, we can’t be certain,” Shrestha said.
The problem arose when the refrigerated container, in which the bodies were stored, stopped functioning and the hospital authorities couldn’t find anyone to repair it.
With temperatures in the Kathmandu Valley rising with each passing day, the bodies have started decomposing at a very fast rate. This prompted the hospital to ask for their disposal.
“We have formed a committee to take care of the problem. They will identify a place to bury the bodies and dispose of them as soon as possible,” Ram Krishna Subedi, chief district officer of Kathmandu, told Hindustan Times.
He said the bodies could not be cremated as relatives of the victims might seek possession of the remains. Hence, they will be buried in carefully prepared containers.
Last year’s earthquakes in April and May claimed nearly 9,000 victims in 14 of the worst affected districts. Dozens of bodies are still believed to be buried under rubble at many places.