The unburied bodies for months put the Las Palmas morgue to the limit
A total of 28 corpses have accumulated since last June in the chambers of the Institute of Legal Medicine (IML) of Las Palmas de Gran Canariathe majority of migrants who arrived on the island in canoes or small boats who died on the journey or after landing.
According to Efe sources from the IML, this is a problem that remains unresolved and that worries the center because they are kept in the disaster chamberintended for events with multiple victims, which must be prepared for this purpose and whose capacity is 30 corpses.
In addition, the bodies are not deposited in freezers, but only refrigerated, with which they end up deteriorating and eventually reach a state of putrefactionwhich is a source of infection and a health risk, despite the fact that the Institute's staff accesses with protection, the sources have warned.
Corpses continue to enter the IML and the process to carry out these burials "goes very slowly", but not from the judicial point of view, where "there are no obstacles" to celebrate funerals.
Most of these corpses they belong to migrants, but a third of them belong to foreigners who died in other circumstances and have not been claimed, so they are also waiting for a charitable burial, which in Spain is a cost that falls on the municipalities.
To the Municipality of Mogan It is up to him to assume the burials of immigrants who arrive dead at the port of Arguineguín and he has paid for them for years, until he has encountered a problem of lack of land in his cemetery due to the increase in the number of deaths after reactivating the Canarian Route.
The mayor of Mogán, Onalia Bueno, demanded the solidarity of the rest of the municipalities of Gran Canaria and the insular commission of the Canarian Federation of Municipalities (Fecam) reached an agreement last November to collaborate and give space in other municipalities, the president of the aforementioned body and mayor of Agüimes, Óscar Hernández, has informed Efe.
So, in November, when Mogán appealed for municipal solidarity, there were 24 bodies of immigrants pending burial, all landed in the port of Arguineguín.
In the agreement, approved unanimously, each city council undertook to bury a corpse, except for Telde, Santa Lucía and Las Palmas de Gran Canariathose with the largest population, who were responsible for two each.
Likewise, it was requested Government Delegation a meeting to assume the economic costs derived from these funerals, which was held two weeks after the agreement with the delegate in the Canary Islands, Anselmo Pestana, who told them that the jurisdiction of these burials was of the municipalities and that his department had no resources to meet those expenses.
At that meeting, the Government delegate was also asked to assume the cost of burying the other foreigners who die on the island and are not claimed by their relatives.
The Government Delegation has insisted that the town councils will have "institutional support" and that they have no powers, which is what ensures the Vice Ministry of Justice of the autonomous community, according to sources consulted by Efe.
Óscar Hernández has affirmed that on February 11, the General Director of Relations with the Justice of the Government of the Canary Islands, Mónica Ceballosthat there was a commitment by the Deputy Minister of Justice, Carla Vallejo, to assume the costs for the transfers and burial, an issue that has been denied to Efe by sources from that department.
According to Hernández, the municipalities that are going to collaborate in the funerals are waiting to be informed "of the day and time that the bodies are going to arrive."
The Mayor of Mogán, Onalia Buenohas also assured Efe that the Deputy Minister of Justice, Carla Vallejo, and the former Director of Relations with the Administration of Justice Marta Bonet promised to assume the costs of the funeral homes, when the commitment of the Fecam was transferred to the Canary Government.
The Deputy Ministry of Justice "assumed the reins and the cost" as was done with the 24 immigrants who arrived dead in a canoe at the port of Los Cristianos (Arona) in April of last year and that they were buried in La Candelaria and Santa Cruz de Tenerife, because it is the Government that takes charge when it comes to a high number, pointed out Bueno, who maintains that the town councils bear the expenses of the niche and of the gravedigger.
The mayor of Mogán, in any case, considers that if the immigrants die on the high seas, in Spanish waters, as usually happens, the Government of Spain should be the competent one and in no case the municipalities, which should be limited to paying for the niches and the funeral.