A crew of armed guards stood at the gate, making sure new arrivals at the cemetery were entitled to use one of the family tombs which fill it, and had paid the US $5 burial fee. A gatekeeper checked off their names against a list, which revealed that in the past three days, some 210 fresh corpses have been deposited there.
The real figure is far higher, though, since scores of dead people have been illegally dumped, their relations too impoverished to pay the fee. They now lie abandoned, and rotting. Some of them are in half open coffins; others are wrapped in rags that are now covered in swarms of flies. The really bad ones were left in the clothes they died in.
“Dumping is out of hand. That’s why we’ve had to put guards here,” said Cherie Bigard, who is manning the gate on behalf of the local Mayor’s office. “People don’t have money to pay, so are just leaving them. So we need to stop more arriving. This is supposed to be a cemetery, with tombs, not an outdoor grave.”