South Africa: Grieving Durban families were left stranded at the Mobeni Heights crematorium this week when furnaces ran out of gas.
On Tuesday, about 200 family members who had gathered to pay their respects at two separate funerals were told by crematorium officials that the furnaces had no gas and they could not proceed with the cremations.
Families were given the choice of waiting a few days until fresh supplies had been delivered or making arrangements at another crematorium.
The crematorium is owned by the eThekwini municipality.
Eric Ramkuar, from Chats-worth, said his mother-in-law's funeral at a local church was stopped on Tuesday when he received a call from the undertakers informing him of the situation at the crematorium. He said they were told to make other arrangements.
"We were told that they could keep the body and the cremation would go ahead the next day, but we didn't want that. So at the last minute we decided to go to a crematorium in Verulam.
"It was confusing to many people at the crematorium and an inconvenience, especially for the family who were grieving.
"It was also an inconvenience in terms of cars. We had to organise vehicles to take people to Verulam and, even then, not everyone turned up for the cremation," said Ramkuar.
As a result of the chaotic arrangements, everything had to be cut short, including the church service.
"It just wasn't right to have a funeral like that for a loved one. A funeral is a serious matter and it just wasn't right. We were supposed to have 120 people, but eventually only 40 people came to the crematorium."
Clive Moodley of Pinetown Funeral Services said many people were upset and angry when they learnt that the crematorium could not function.
He said another family were informed of the situation only when they arrived at the crematorium.
"So this was a real inconvenience for the family because they had to go all the way to Verulam for the service at such short notice. They were very upset," he said.
"It's also frustrating to us because it's time-consuming and financially draining."
Christo Swart, deputy head of parks, leisure and cemeteries in the city, said the problem was due to the supplier arriving later than scheduled and an additional demand on the reserves owing to a greater number of cremations last week.
"The crematorium is fully operational, and both cremators are operating normally, with an ample supply of gas in the bulk tank. An incident of this nature has not happened before," he said.
source: Times live