Amazonian Mass Graves Dug As Health System Collapses

Story ByMichael Leidig, Sub EditorJoseph GolderAgencyCentral European News


This is the moment mass graves are filled with coffins in the Amazonian capital Manaus in Brazil as the region struggles to deal with the numbers dying from the coronavirus.

City officials said each of the graves can contain up to 10 people as the death toll continues to rise in the region which is reportedly seeing an 8.5 percent mortality rate among those infected.

Videos of the mass graves posted on social media show huge diggers scooping out the graves and then the coffins being placed inside 10 at a time before the gravediggers cover them with soil.

They said that even though they were now using the mass graves, it was still not going fast enough and health officials have arranged for cold rooms to store bodies until space can be made at the cemeteries. So far two cold storage depots have been set up at the main cemetery.


According to the latest statistics from the Johns Hopkins University Brazil has seen 2761 deaths and 43,079 people infected, with the death rate in Amazonia two percent above the national average. In part this was blamed on the fact that the Amazonian public health service has only 118 intensive care beds and all of these are in use.

The state government has already warned that the public health service in the region is on the verge of collapse with 815 people suffering from COVID-19 hospitalised.

The local council which manages the cemetery said last week alone 656 bodies were buried in the council-controlled cemetery which meant an average of 82 funerals per day, compared to 28 on a normal day.

In a statement, Manaus council officials said: “The methodology, already used in other countries, preserves the identity of the bodies and allows their families to know where they are and there is also enough distance between the coffins for individual identification despite the mass grave. There was no other alternative to meet the demand for burials in the capital.”

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