Plan to use abandoned cemetery for COVID-19 burials in Bahrain

Barbar Cemetery has existed for around 300 years and has remained untouched for the last 200 years

  
Image used for illustrative purpose.

Image used for illustrative purpose.

Getty Images

A cemetery in the Northern Governorate that has been abandoned for almost two centuries could be used to bury people who have died from the coronavirus (Covid-19) following a proposal under review.

According to local historians, the Barbar Cemetery has existed for around 300 years and has remained untouched for the last 200 years.

Northern Municipal Council services committee chairman and area councillor Dr Sayed Shubbar Al Wedaei told the GDN that the recent increase in Covid-19 deaths has created the need for additional burial sites close to families who have lost members to the disease.

“The increasing number of deaths due to the pandemic and the decision to bury them in Karranah and other locations has led to the proposal of using the abandoned Barbar Cemetery as well for residents of the area and neighbouring villages,” said Dr Al Wedaei.

“A number of Barbar residents are being buried in Karranah and there has been a request from families to bury their loved ones in this historical cemetery which is large enough to accommodate the increasing numbers.

“The cemetery is located in the south-western part of Block 520 and occupies 17,155.05sqm of area and it has already been fenced since July 9, 2008 following a request submitted to the Jaffari Waqf (Endowments) Directorate.

“As the demand grew from citizens to make use of the abandoned property we visited the site as part of our duties to propose the establishment and cancellation of cemeteries.”

The councillors are also authorised to designate locations and specifications for the transfer and burial of the dead as well as organising funerals and taking necessary measures to preserve the sanctity of cemeteries.

Dr Al Wedaei said the proposal will be discussed during the next meeting of the services committee.

“This proposal comes as a response to popular demand from citizens to bury family members in their neighbourhoods while also providing the necessary procedural requirements that allow people to overcome their plight,” he added.

“Burying loved ones in their neighbourhood cemeteries takes into account the psychological conditions of families who have lost loved ones to the pandemic as well as reaffirm the humanitarian stance that must be taken during these extraordinary circumstances.

“This should be an indicator of our positions at this critical stage our country is going through and this is what we hope will be taken into account in the procedural position of the health authorities, the Jaffari Endowments Directorate and the relevant authorities.”

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