Heatwave prompts rushed burials


Nqobile Tshili, Chronicle Correspondent
RURAL communities are now being forced to rush burials of their loved ones due to the effects of the prevailing hot temperatures that have seen bodies decomposing faster.

Chief Masuku from Matobo District yesterday said bodies that are not taken to mortuaries were easily decomposing forcing villagers to fast-track burials.

He said most bereaved families were forced to do everything in a rush and were not waiting for relatives in distant places.

“There is too much heat. Bodies are decomposing at a rate we’ve never seen before. This has forced villagers to push for early burials to avoid burying after bodies have already decomposed,” he said.
“Bereaved relatives who would be coming from distant areas rarely find the body unburied. They just come to pay respects but most of the times burial would have taken place.”

He said rising temperatures had also forced people to forego cultural practices by not observing certain times that are deemed inappropriate to bury people.

Another traditional leader, Chief Nyangazonke of Kezi said extremely hot temperatures are also forcing villagers to bury bodies during odd hours.

He said in his area it was unheard of to bury an elderly person before midday.

“Burials for the elderly are usually done after midday but due to the heat we’re forced to bury them in the morning.

“We’re forced to forego our cultural practices because of the changing weather patterns,” he said.

Chief Mathuphula from Tsholotsho said fast tracking of burials was prompted by the unavailability of mortuaries in nearby communities.

This week, the Meteorological Service Department issued a warning that the country was going to experience extreme temperatures between 40 and 43 degrees Celsius.

The department also advised members of the public to drink a lot of water to avoid dehydration.

The high temperatures have not been experienced in Zimbabwe over a period of 60 years.

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