Coronavirus: the ‘coronadamas’, the women who wash the bodies of the dead by covid-19 in Iran

Their commission is admirable and, at the same time, terrible: they have to wash the bodies of the fatal victims of covid-19.

People that wash dead bodies of coronavirus victims are known as the ‘coronadamas’ and volunteer in the Iranian city of Qom to fulfill the ancient Islamic tradition of bathing the dead before burial. Their commission is admirable and, at the same time, terrible: they have to wash the bodies of the fatal victims of covid-19.
Coronavirus: the ‘coronadamas’, the women who wash the bodies of the dead by covid-19 in Ira
Iran News Update: They are known as the ‘coronadamas’ and volunteer in the Iranian city of Qom to fulfill the ancient Islamic tradition of bathing the dead before burial.
Iran has the highest number of deaths from coronavirus in the Middle East.
It is extremely difficult to obtain accurate information on what is really happening in the country, but many online publications suggest that the morgues are full.

The rows for the sink

The existence of the ‘coronadamas’ became known after a video went viral in which bodies were seen lying on the floor, lined up to be washed.
The man who recorded it claimed that some of the bodies had been there for five or six days.
The questions on social networks generated strong censorship from the authorities at first (the man was arrested), but then the government sought strategies to calm public opinion.

Washing the dead before burial is part of the Islamic tradition.

And it is that the publications multiplied after many users questioned that the bodies of the victims of covid-19 did not receive a dignified burial, something very important in Muslim culture.
It was then that the religious authorities began to officially talk about the ‘coronadamas’, as a way of reassuring citizens, showing that they were taking care of the bodies of their loved ones who died from the coronavirus.
The photos of the ‘coronadamas’ then appeared on various government websites, portrayed as brave women who were assuring the dead of the latest Islamic rite, the Ghosl-e Meyyet.

The tradition

Under Islamic law, loved ones must be buried shortly after their death.
Before that, however, it is a legal requirement that the body be washed with water three times.
For the first cleaning, the water contains cedar extract, for the second, camphor, and finally the body is washed with running water.
Then it is covered by a white shroud and is thus ready for prayers and burial.

The videos circulating on the networks showed the full morgues.

But how safe is this process when it involves victims of covid-19?

Problems with the rite

When the current crisis began, the recommendation on how to proceed with the dead was very confusing to both internationally and within Iran.
Initially, the government advised against washing the bodies with water, suggesting a dry version of the rite.
But in early March, the supreme leader declared that the corpses of covid-19 victims were to be treated exactly like anyone else's: washed, wrapped in shrouds, and prayed before burial.
However, he added that those who cared for the dead should pay attention to health and safety guidelines.

The guidelines

While the coronavirus is not believed to be transmitted from a dead body, the World Health Organization (WHO) advises ‘great caution’ because the pathogen is largely unknown.
WHO recommends that those in contact with the dead wear full personal protective equipment, including gloves and masks.
In Italy, for example, health authorities say that although the deceased cannot transmit the virus, it can survive in clothing, so coffins are immediately sealed and families are prohibited from seeing the remains of loved ones.

Mashhad seminary students also wash the dead.

Despite the unknown risks, the ‘coronadamas’ continue to work 24 hours in Iran.
There are three teams that work seven-hour shifts to try to meet the demand for their service.
The women use a series of religious invocations and songs to help themselves in their work.
But they are not the only ones who do it: at the Mashhad seminary, the students also wash the bodies during their lunch hours.

Fear and figures

The delay in washing the bodies is not only due to the fear of the morgue workers, but to the high number of deaths in the country.
Statistics show that about 4,600 people have died (by 14 April).
But a group of Iranian researchers in the United States believe that the actual numbers are much higher.
Two of them are Hazhir Rahmandad, associate professor of systems dynamics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Navid Ghaffarzadegan, associate professor at Virginia Tech.
Both, instead of relying solely on government statistics, developed a dynamic model that simulates the spread of the disease.
The projection includes data on infected Iranian travelers who tested positive at the entry point to other countries, as well as numerous estimates from the medical community to calculate what they consider to be a more accurate figure.
They calculated that as of March 20, more than 15,000 people would have been killed and the number of infections could be close to a million.

Signs on earth

While this is just a study and we may never know the full extent of the crisis in Iran, some indications of the number of deaths in the country can be seen on earth.
Rather than burying the dead in individual graves, the bodies of some victims are placed side by side in ditches.
A doctor from the northern Mazandaran region, who asked not to be identified, told the BBC that public safety experts had been dispatched to monitor the process of wrapping, burying and covering the graves with lime (which authorities say is used to help disinfect and prevent the spread of the virus).
The graves are covered with lime.
The doctor assures that despite the fact that death certificates indicate cardiac arrest or the flu as causes of death, the participation of these experts indicates that it could have actually been covid-19.
Several families say they have no information about the whereabouts of the bodies of their loved ones.
They have been told that the details will be communicated to them once the crisis is over, so that they can visit the graves.
Meanwhile, religious leaders are trying to reassure family members and claim that the deceased are being treated with respect and buried in accordance with all appropriate Islamic rites.
Share:

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

ad

Popular News

Recent Posts