In These New Times

A new paradigm for a post-imperial world

Swine flu mass graves planned for London

Posted by seumasach on August 19, 2009

The London Paper

19th August, 2009

SWINE FLU victims could be buried in mass graves during a second wave of the virus, which is expected to hit London this autumn.

A Home Office document shows a plan for “a grave that is for a number of unrelated persons, excavated mechanically in advance and designed for efficient preparation and use” creating “a burial site for multiple graves and consecutive burials”

A spokesman today said the plans were “possibilities, not certainties”, but said swine flu victims nationwide could be interred in mass graves if necessary.

Planners say the multiple person burial plots are a “worst case scenario” tactic if the Government is forced to activate emergency plans to take over from local authorities struggling to deal with large numbers of interments.

A London borough council has said that its plans to deal with the outbreak could involve crematoriums working 24 hours a day at “maximum capacity”.

A spokesman for Westminster Council said: “We have talked about getting crematoriums working 24 hours per day.”

The spokesman said the plans could mean extra services being laid on seven days a week to cope with the high demand.

He added that the council had already been in discussions with undertakers to find out whether they will be able to cope with an increase in numbers of deaths due to swine flu.

The Home Office document also mentions that “basic and shorter services” may be required at chapels to cope with the large number of funerals taking place.

It also states that freight containers and inflatable storage units could be used to provide extra mortuary space.

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