Home >Politics >Policy >Respect dead, but dispose bodies away from groundwater sources: NCDC to flood-hit Kerala
Volunteers use umbrellas to protect from rain as they cross Pampa river to reach to flood-affected areas to clean houses and public places following floods in Kerala. File Photo: Reuters
Volunteers use umbrellas to protect from rain as they cross Pampa river to reach to flood-affected areas to clean houses and public places following floods in Kerala. File Photo: Reuters

Respect dead, but dispose bodies away from groundwater sources: NCDC to flood-hit Kerala

NCDC advised the state authorities that the dead bodies should be cremated in a way that they do not impact the ground water quality that may lead to further water borne diseases

New Delhi: In a bid to ensure prevention of any contamination of drinking water in flood ravaged Kerala, the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has advised the state authorities to apply a sensitive yet practical approach while disposing dead bodies. In its guidelines for safe disposal of dead bodies, the NCDC has said that the dead bodies should be cremated in a way that they do not impact the ground water quality that may lead to further water borne diseases.

“The dead and the bereaved should be respected at all times. The priority for affected families is to know the fate of their missing loved ones. Honest and accurate information should be provided at all times and at every stage of the recovery and identification process. A sympathetic and caring approach is owed to the families throughout the process. Psychosocial support for families and relatives should be considered. Cultural and religious needs should be respected," the guidelines state.

“Graveyards should be at least 30 m from groundwater sources used for drinking water. The bottom of any grave must be at least 1.5 m above the water table with a 0.7 m unsaturated zone. Surface water from graveyards must not enter inhabited areas," the guidelines said.

The NCDC has also said that the specific religious and community sensitivity should be considered while handling the burial or cremation of dead bodies.

“Advice and assistance from religious and community leaders should be sought to improve understanding and acceptance of the recovery, management, and identification of the dead bodies. Undignified handling and disposal of dead bodies may further traumatize relatives and should be avoided at all times. Careful and ethical management of dead bodies, including disposal, should be ensured, including respect for religious and cultural sensitivities," the guidelines state.

According to Kerala government at least 483 people have lost lives in the state since the onset of monsoon on 28 May and 14 are still missing. As the flood water is receding now, the public health department of the state is trying to prevent communicable and non communicable diseases and deaths.

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