Safeguarding last rites during the pandemic | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, May 30, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 03:15 AM, May 30, 2020

Safeguarding last rites during the pandemic

A noble example set by Al-Rashid Foundation

We are humbled by the noble example set by the Al-Rashid Foundation during this pandemic, which has already taken too many precious lives. Faced with the grim reality of burying those who have succumbed to the virus, this organisation has been providing crucial help at a time when people have been asked to stay away due to the health risks posed by funeral gatherings, especially in a household where the virus may have spread. Family members and relatives are finding it difficult to bury the deceased in this situation. With approval and training from the Ministry of Health, a team of 30 committed individuals are working with unabated determination to carry out the burial rituals as soon as they get a call from the family of the deceased, hospital authorities or the Ministry of Health—transporting bodies to the respective graveyard, crematorium or church in different districts.

Even during the Eid holidays, the members of the organisation carried out this difficult task as they laid to rest three more victims of the pandemic. While precautions must be taken when dealing with such a highly infectious disease, it is indeed shocking that some patients have been abandoned in their final moments, and left without anyone to arrange for the funeral. There have also been reports of residents who were resisting the burial of Covid-19 patients in their neighbourhoods, putting intense pressure on the families to abandon the body. It is during such dire times that Al-Rashid Foundation and other similar volunteer organisations have stepped in to serve bereaved families from various religious communities, maintaining their specific rituals.

We commend the humble initiatives by such establishments to come forward and demonstrate inclusiveness through their diligent support, and call upon others to do the same as well. Such crucial moments of crisis puts our humanity to test. We must take heed from this example and try our best to do whatever we can, collectively or individually, to contribute in this ongoing battle against Covid-19, if we are to survive all odds. Al-Rashid Foundation further plans to set up clinics to provide medical services for the poor across the country as well as free ambulance services to transport dead bodies in the near future. Organisations like these should be supported by both state and the private sector.


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