How Many People Live in Graveyards?

The living and the dead coincide

If you had asked me that question yesterday, without thinking I would have guessed … zero? Boy was I wrong! It seems that the answer may be millions. I looked to the web to find some information on the subject and here is what I’ve found.

Elvira Miranda, 68, has been living with her husband and children in a shanty above a stack of graves in Manila North Cemetery, 133 acres of 6,000 slum-dwellers from 800 families, as well as one million dead. Manila is one of the world’s most densely populated cities

We keep the cemetery clean … The community has kept to itself. Most people here don’t have an income, but we try and find odd jobs to make ends meet. We sell flowers to victims’ families, make headstones or build coffins.

Elvira Miranda

The Philippine National Police (PNP) says crime and drug use are prevalent in cemeteries. A lot of dwellers are unemployed and resort to criminal activities to support their families. The cemeteries are great hide-outs for criminals. There are many large graveyards in Manila with the same problems.

I lived my entire life in this tomb, got married and had my children and now I am going to die here.

Sayed al-Araby, shoemaker

In the town of Santa Coloma de Gramanet, Spain there are 124,000 residents packed into 1.5 square miles. Yes, this is the cemetery, and the people who run it have provided 462 solar panels, enough to power 60 homes every year. The community has seen the solar panels as disrespectful. In 2008, Egypt’s national statistics agency said that 1.5 million people were living in Cairo’s graveyards. The families run small generators and pay by the month for their share of the diesel.

The best tribute we can pay to our ancestors, whatever your religion may be, is to generate clean energy for new generations.

Director of Const-Live Energy, which runs the cemetery


Web Urbanist
Middle East Eye
The Guardian

Author: Doyle

I was born in Atlanta, moved to Alpharetta at 4, lived there for 53 years and moved to Decatur in 2016. I've worked at such places as Richway, North Fulton Medical Center, Management Science America (Computer Tech/Project Manager) and Stacy's Compounding Pharmacy (Pharmacy Tech).

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