- Extreme summer temperatures and an administrative backlog are causing coffins to explode in Palermo, Sicily.
- The leakages and explosions are a risk to public health.
- There’s now an additional pressure to bury the coffins, as thunderstorms are forecast.
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A combination of administrative backlogs, a heatwave, and a spike in COVID-19 deaths have resulted in unburied, exploding coffins in Palermo, Sicily.
Around 1000 coffins waiting to be laid to rest at the Rotoli cemetery in Palermo are being stored in offices, on shelves, and in tents in the sun that has reached over 48 degrees Celsius (118 Fahrenheit).
The director of Palermo’s cemeteries, Leonardo Cristofaro, said numerous coffins had started to leak and some had exploded in the heatwave that is showing the highest ever recorded temperatures in Europe, The Times report.
“Cadaver fluids started to come out of some coffins. Some coffins exploded due to the extreme heat. This situation will not improve without burying these coffins. This could become a very serious health risk,” Cristofaro said, according to reports.
There’s a rush to bury the coffins, not just due to current extreme temperatures or for the peace of mind of mourning loved ones, but because thunderstorms are forecast to sweep the island.
Last year, a flash flood swept through a major cemetery in Palermo, leaving coffins floating in the fallen rainwater.
1,508 new COVID-19 cases were reported on the island of Sicily on August 20, with 12 deaths on the same day.