The recent incessant rains that have been pounding parts of the country are proving to be both a blessing and a curse at the same time.
For some grieving families in Bulawayo, the rains bring a challenge as they are being put through more misery by burying their loved ones in water-logged graves.
Burials at the city’s two cemeteries — Luveve and West Park — are being delayed as graves would be allegedly filled with water forcing relatives of the deceased to join grave diggers and funeral services companies conducting burials to pump out water from the graves.
A visit by B-Metro to West Park Cemetery revealed a solemn atmosphere as some burials were being delayed for hours after families found graves filled with water.
In an interview one member of the affected families, Ezra Bonde said his relative’s burial was delayed for four hours after they found the grave filled with water which was later pumped out by a funeral service company which was conducting the burial.
Our relative’s burial was put on hold for four hours after we found the grave filled with water. We had to wait until the water was pumped out but that did not help. As the water was being pumped some seeping from the ground was again filling up the grave.
“We ended up burying the body in a water-logged grave. This is so because West Park Cemetery sits close to the water table meaning water backs up quickly through the ground,” said Bonde.
An official from a local funeral service company who described the situation as “absolutely abnormal” also concurred with Bonde saying funeral delays were the order of the day at city cemeteries.
“Having been involved in burial for many years I had never known cemeteries to be affected by the weather to this extent. It’s just absolutely abnormal. The problem is that some of the graves which were dug a long time ago have been filled up with water which needs to be pumped out before burial.
“Sometimes while pumping out the water some seeping from the ground will again fill up the grave thereby forcing us to bury bodies in water-logged graves,” said the official who refused to be named saying he was not cleared to speak to the Press.
The official further said the waterlogged ground was also creating dangerous conditions for gravediggers as water would be backing up quickly through the ground.