Searching for dead brings extra agony in Ecuador’s largest city

Published April 18, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Agence France-Presse

Darwin Castillo’s father died in Guayaquil during the coronavirus pandemic that has caused the Ecuadoran city’s health system to collapse.

Darwin Castillo has spent two weeks searching for his late father's body but to no avail (Darwin Castillo has spent two weeks searching for his late father's body but to no avail (Darwin Castillo has spent two weeks searching for his late father's body but to no avail (AFP / JOSE SANCHEZ / MANILA BULLETIN)
Darwin Castillo has spent two weeks searching for his late father’s body but to no avail (Darwin Castillo has spent two weeks searching for his late father’s body but to no avail (Darwin Castillo has spent two weeks searching for his late father’s body but to no avail (AFP / JOSE SANCHEZ / MANILA BULLETIN)

But when Castillo went to the overwhelmed morgue to recover him, he opened a body bag to find the person inside wasn’t his father.

Two weeks have passed and he still hasn’t found the body.

Guayaquil, Ecuador’s largest city, is the capital of Guayas province has recorded roughly 70 percent of the country’s more than 8,200 coronavirus cases.

Castillo, 31, who works in a factory making plastic products, ended up returning the coffin he had purchased to the funeral home.

“I don’t blame the hospital or the morgue. There were people dying at the entrance,” he told AFP.

“I would like my dad to appear so I can give him a Christian burial, to give a bouquet of roses to my old man.”

Castillo’s father, Manuel, was 76 and a dialysis patient, who died on March 31 due to a catheter obstruction.

His son went to the Los Ceibos hospital — the largest in Guayaquil, which has been dedicated to coronavirus cases — two days later to recover the body.

When he got to the morgue he found it filled with corpses and paid an employee a $150 bribe to recover his father’s body among some 170 that were piled up.

 
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