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The boom in funeral services in Nicaragua

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  • The boom in funeral services in Nicaragua

    Source: https://confidencial.com.ni/demanda-...plico-en-mayo/


    The boom in funeral services in Nicaragua
    Workshop and cellar of Funeraria L.A. where before May they kept 400 coffins in stock. Today there are only 40 left and they are manufacturing new ones to cover the demand for the pandemic. // Photo: Playback | This week

    Demand tripled in May: orders for coffins increase and in a cemetery there were ten times more burials per day
    Iván Olivares
    June 22, 2020

    While most of the Nicaraguan companies suffer from the economic effects of the covid-19 epidemic, which came to add to the political crisis that the country has suffered since April 2018, there is one item that not only remains standing, Instead, it has increased its sales: the one that provides funeral services, which includes coffin manufacturers.

    Some 60 funeral companies across the country, and dozens of casket manufacturers, between April and June experienced dramatic growth of 150% and more, in some cases.

    Before March, “the number of services was relatively normal. About five or six funeral services daily for different reasons, which did not warrant hiring more personnel, or buying certain items, such as suits, glasses, alcohol, "etc., Evel Zúniga, general manager of Funeraria la Católica y la Auxiliadora, told CONFIDENTIAL.

    Starting in April, and especially in May, which is the date with the highest number of requests for caskets, they went from 60 services a month to 150 and 160, and around 12 to 15 services a day, he explained.

    Dying in Nicaragua in times of coronavirus

    The experience of Denis Reyes, Marketing and Sales Manager of Monte de los Olivos Funeral Home, does not differ much from that of his colleague. Reyes recalls that before, the ‘normal’ was to provide two or three services a day. That changed uncontrollably in May “an impressive month for us in the amount of demand we had. It doubled, it tripled. From two to three services a day, we go to serve up to ten in a single day, "he said.

    Garit Estrada Herrera, assistant manager of Funeraria L.A., recalls that before the health crisis began to take lives, about three coffins could be sold at that funeral, with a weekly accumulation of up to ten units. Now, they can sell five to six caskets in one day, and up to 15 to 20 boxes per week.

    La Católica and Auxiliadora Funeral Home, with six decades in the market, only records two other times when they had to attend to so many deaths. “We are speaking in the history of the earthquake, or of the 1980s due to the materials crisis, the war. I think they are the most booming times, and now, with this pandemic, the coronavirus, ”compares Evel Zúniga.

    Without a doubt: it was the covid-19

    By their nature, funeral services are one of the few businesses that do not boast of publicly celebrating their profitability and good economic results.

    Denis Reyes summarizes the feeling of the industry, noting that "it seems ironic what I am going to say, but we would like this to return to normal, because we see the pain of families, and what we are going through is a very difficult situation ... the entire world, not just Nicaragua. The whole world".

    Although the official narrative indicates that, until last Tuesday, June 16, in Nicaragua only 64 people had died as a result of the pandemic, most of the hundreds of funeral honors that funeral homes must have attended, have the most abbreviated name. feared of the 21st century: covid-19.

    Reyes explains that the majority of services they attended in Monte de los Olivos were “due to pneumonia. There were cases that were registered in his death certificate, which said covid-19, but the majority was due to some respiratory cause, and we, in a responsible way, had to apply the protocol, for the protection of the family, and ours too. ”

    "Furthermore, the same family, if it was atypical pneumonia, acquired in the community, asked us for a wooden coffin, with an airtight box," he added.

    Garit Estrada, of Funeraria L.A., attributed the increase “to the pandemic. At the high contagion that this virus has, and therefore, unfortunately, precautionary measures have not yet been taken, although there are people who are voluntarily staying at home and taking their measures. ”

    He explained that if the death certificate cites a respiratory ailment as the cause of death, “we classify it as a possible coronavirus, and we take measures. We tell the client, because there have been cases, where people think that it is not the virus that caused the death of the person, and we ask permission to wear protective suits, because sometimes people get upset. "

    For her part, Zúniga said that the statistics compiled by the company show that, in most cases, "hospitals have only put atypical pneumonia, or sometimes, a heart attack."
    Building more coffins

    As the need for funeral services grows, so does the need for coffins, to the point that the number of casket manufacturers is growing.

    One of the newcomers is the industrial engineer Ricardo López, whose experience of more than a decade in the manufacture of furniture, helped him to start making coffins, an activity he came to after being unemployed, but also by chance.

    “The factory where I worked closed, and we were about 140 people unemployed. Many of the carpenters who worked with me suggested that I join the business, but I didn't like it as much, ”he tells CONFIDENCIAL.

    “One day they called me from a funeral home, asking if it was true that I was selling coffins, and I said no. The next day, they called me from another funeral home with the same query, and I said no. ” When the third funeral parlor called him, he told them: "I'm going to make you the budget," he recalled.

    The third funeral parlor approved the budget and they began to work, first manufacturing a sample, and upon receiving the approval, a batch of ten units. The following week they released another batch of ten units, and although at the time of the interview they expected to sign a contract to manufacture between 60 to 80 units, in the end, they signed for 150 coffins.

    The data that Estrada, from Funeraria L.A., shared goes in the same direction as that offered by López, whose stock of 400 boxes in the warehouse, was reduced to 40.

    He explains that they make coffins for other funeral homes, and for people who "buy them in quantities, to start their business."

    Stocks were reduced to that level, given that if previously his workshop produced ten to fifteen caskets per day, the demand grew to the point that “it is almost reaching 25 boxes per day, ready to sell, and we have also increased the gross production of the boxes ”, he revealed.

    Zúniga, of the Catholic and Auxiliadora, which also makes its own coffins, said they had to hire additional staff to work in their serial manufacturing workshop.

    Input prices skyrocket

    An increase in demand, in a context in which the production of raw materials does not grow, resulted in an increase in the prices at which the hardware stores sell the wood and other elements necessary to make a coffin.

    Evel Zúniga, of the Catholic and Auxiliadora, assured that there is material available, but "the prices of the raw material - wood, paint - have increased by 50%, more or less."

    Garit Estrada, of the Funeral Home L.A., explained that "right now, due to the demand that there has been, for too many coffins, the prices have increased, and that has made the value of the box double."

    A similar predicament has Ricardo López, who reports that “most places that sell raw materials at fair and accessible prices are collapsed. They have no materials. There are hardware stores where normally I could buy 400 sheets, without problems. Now, finding 30 sheets of fibran, or plywood, is almost an impossible mission. ”
    Ten times more burials per day

    The monthly report of a cemetery in Managua, to which CONFIDENTIAL had access, shows that 40% of the deceased, according to death certificates issued by the Ministry of Health, have respiratory disease as a cause of death, which coincides with the complaint by medical personnel that the regime's policy is to mask the suspected deaths of covid-19.

    Personnel who work in that cemetery and asked to protect their identity for fear of reprisals, commented that in May the number of burials grew. Funeral ceremonies with awnings, coffee and snacks were left behind and the workload is such that the number of workers and the use of backhoes grew.

    If before they worked from eight in the morning to four in the afternoon, now they have a more hectic day at night and early in the morning. If they previously attended one or two burials a day, the figure increased fivefold in the last month, while in the first days of June they had more than 30 burials.

    A worker who is responsible for collecting the bodies in hospitals to transfer them to the cemetery, has seen that if the person dies in the afternoon or evening, the order is to deliver the body until the next morning "to reduce the number of night burials that are they have seen in the media and on the networks ”, he supposed.

    Another cemetery in the capital closed May with almost 300 services provided, which almost multiplied by 10, the number of burials per day.
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