A mobile cremator using LPG cylinders was employed by residents of Thoothukudi as the local cemetery became unusable after the recent flood that struck southern Tamil Nadu.
The residents were forced to seek alternative options as the incessant rain rendered all 12 crematoriums allocated to people from different castes useless.
Ganesan, a resident of Thoothukudi Corporation, said that the cemeteries and crematoriums are still submerged under two feet of water. Some residents are transporting their dead to distant locations for cremation.
“People are transporting the bodies to Thiruvannamalai or Kovilpatti to bury them. Even after the water recedes completely, it will take another 5 months for the place to be suitable for burying bodies, as there will be water even if you dig a foot,” stated Ganesan.
Given this situation, the locals arranged a makeshift cremator using two commercial LPG cylinders, Tamilselvan, who runs an ambulance service, said.
“Christians are taking the bodies of their loved ones to other districts, but Hindus don’t have a place to cremate the bodies of the deceased. We don’t foresee normalcy anytime soon,” he noted.
“It takes an hour for the body to burn and another 15 minutes for the ashes to cool down. We don’t have any other choice,” Tamilselvan added.
He mentioned that there was no possibility for the locals to communicate with officials. However, he informed Thoothukudi Mayor Jagan Periyasamy about the situation and sought financial assistance for cremating the bodies.
Many areas in districts like Thoothukudi and Tirunelveli have witnessed unprecedented rain and flooding since December 17. Rescue and rehabilitation efforts are still underway as many areas remain inundated.