Brit Media Reports On H1N1 Mass Graves

Deputy Political Editor

Published: 19 Aug 2009

PLANS for mass graves have been drawn up to cope with a second wave of swine flu this Autumn.

The chilling proposals are spelled out in a Home Office document discussed at a meeting of Whitehall officials and council leaders last month.

It warns emergency plans may be needed in areas where there are not enough graves to cope.

The 59-page document talks about using “a grave that is for a number of unrelated persons, excavated mechanically in advance and designed for efficient preparation and use”.

New wave ... bug

New wave … bug

It said this approach would create a “burial site for multiple graves and consecutive burials”.

But it stressed there must still be “marking of the position of individual burials.”

The document is called A Framework for Planners Preparing to Manage Deaths.

The meeting heard the number of burials could more than double within a few weeks of a full-blown pandemic.

It heard a presentation on the Home Office guidance from John Barrelled, a senior official from Westminster City Council.

The document warned some cemeteries “may experience shortage of grave space, in particular in inner city areas”.

Frightening ... Government document

Frightening … Government document

Freight containers and “inflatable” storage units may be needed to provide extra mortuary space.

But it stressed “refrigerated vehicles and trailers should not be used”.

Cemeteries and crematoriums may need to work seven days a week and hire extra staff to cope.

It also warned there may be a need for more “basic and shorter services at the chapel” or for “memorial services” to be held at a person’s home instead.

It may no longer be possible to bury some people in family plots.

New laws could be passed to allow “streamlined” cremations.

Whitehall officials are speaking to coffin makers to see if they can meet demand.

Retired docs could be drafted in to issue death certificates so GPs can focus on patients.

It may also become impossible to fly home the bodies of Britons who die abroad. Presently 30 per cent of people are buried.

New cases of swine flu have fallen sharply from a peak of over 110,000 a week in late July.

But experts predict a second wave this autumn.


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