Around 2,000 deceased await burial for up to three months in the Italian capital
In Rome, many families have been in the long wait of up to three months to bury their loved ones. This is due to the increase in deaths due to the pandemic, which has increased the demand for Roman cemeteries, which for years dragged the problems common to many other services managed by the City Council of the Italian capital: lack of maintenance, infinite bureaucracy , inefficiency and rampant absenteeism among public officials. The mayor, Virginia Raggi, of the 'anticasta' 5 Star Movement, announced in 2017 the construction of three new crematoriums and two cemeteries, but so far she has not fulfilled what was promised."My husband died on February 11 and his body is in a warehouse, in an unsealed coffin," denounced Lorella, a woman in her 60s who participated in the demonstration organized by funeral homes in the center of Rome on 16 December. April. "I feel pain and anger. How do you explain a situation like this?" She wondered. At the rally, the workers in the sector showed signs that read: 'Excuse me if you don't allow us to bury your loved ones'. Walter Fabozzi, who works in a funeral home, considered that it had "hit rock bottom" and threatened to carry the coffins to Plaça del Campidoglio, in front of the City Hall of the Italian capital.
"In the cemetery warehouses, which are full, there are almost 2,000 coffins." Andrea Romano, a member of parliament for the Democratic Party (center left), whose son died two months ago, has also denounced this painful situation. His body was cremated, but the family has not yet been given a date for burying the ashes. "They do not even let us access the warehouse where they are kept. And the madness of all this is that we already have a tomb, but it is not enough, because they cannot even organize the burial. It is an agony within the agony", critical.
Ama, the municipal company in charge of the cemeteries of the Eternal City, justified the delay in this case because it is an operation -not urgent-, since the body has already been cremated. He also recalled that, since October, Rome has accumulated an excess of 5,000 deaths compared to the average for the same period in previous years. These are the effects of the second and third waves of the coronavirus pandemic in the capital, which was hardly affected during the first phase of the health crisis. Raggi has already apologized to Romano and the other families for this painful situation, although he blames what happened on Ama. With its more than 7,000 employees and absenteeism of 20%, this municipal company has been in the spotlight for years due to its high costs and inefficiency, as evidenced by the poor management of street cleaning and garbage treatment. Ama has even had to rent refrigerated containers, designed for the conservation of fish, to put the coffins inside and thus prevent the decomposition of the bodies.
Despite the disaster, those responsible for the company not only have not apologized, but are threatening to denounce the opposition parties, who appealed to the courts to intervene in the face of poor management. The employers of the funeral homes also considered that there were signs of criminal behavior.
Giovanni Caciolli, secretary of the funeral home association, lamented that there are cremations that have to wait up to 40 days. Even when families get fed up with the delays and decide to take the deceased to another location to be cremated and buried, the situation does not improve.