Morgue overflows in major city as rotten bodies pile up and AC fails

Tyler Mitchell By Tyler Mitchell Jun13,2024

Guayaquil, Ecuador’s economic capital, is reeling from a crisis as its main morgue has become overwhelmed, leading to a nightmarish overflow of decomposing bodies.

The morgue, strained by the ongoing gang violence in the city, suffered a breakdown in its refrigeration system, leaving over 200 corpses rotting and unclaimed.

The situation reached a critical point when the morgue, already struggling with capacity issues, collapsed under the sheer volume of bodies. Reports indicated that body parts were spilling out of the morgue’s only functioning refrigerated container, with fluids from the decaying remains seeping through the cracks.

The oppressive heat, with temperatures reaching 30°C, only worsened the horrific conditions.

Authorities quickly moved to address the malfunction, claiming that the refrigeration system had been repaired. Despite these efforts, the underlying problem of insufficient morgue facilities remains, as two other morgues in the city had already ceased operations in recent months, leaving just one to handle the influx of bodies.

Staff members donned hazmat suits to collect body parts that had fallen out and placed them into body bags. The area was being disinfected to combat the putrid liquids leaking from the overcrowded container.

Families with missing loved ones have been hit hard by the crisis.

Daniel, who has been waiting for months to reclaim his murdered daughter’s body, told El Pais: “They don’t understand our pain; we won’t even be able to hold a proper wake for her because she has been here too long.”

Similarly, Margarita Pardo has been waiting for weeks to retrieve her son’s body. 

“They informed us there’s no date for when the bodies will be released because the container needs fixing, and no one can enter until it’s repaired”, she said to La Tribuna. 

The morgue received 40 new bodies in the past week alone, a reflection of the relentless violence in Guayaquil. The city, home to 2.7 million people, recorded 3,762 violent deaths in 2023, primarily due to gang wars over drug routes and territory. Prison massacres have also contributed to the overwhelming number of bodies, many of which are unidentifiable.

Juan Montenegro, the former head of forensic medicine at the Guayaquil morgue, criticized the facility for not maintaining proper cooling. He pointed out that without adequate refrigeration, decomposition accelerates, spreading foul odors and untreated fluids through the facility.

“I don’t understand why they haven’t moved these bodies to a mass grave, donated them to universities, or handed them over to relatives demanding their return,” Montenegro said.

Tyler Mitchell

By Tyler Mitchell

Tyler is a renowned journalist with years of experience covering a wide range of topics including politics, entertainment, and technology. His insightful analysis and compelling storytelling have made him a trusted source for breaking news and expert commentary.

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