Antioquian morgues are unable to keep up with the rising mortality rate in the department, national forensics agency Medicina Legal said Wednesday.
“There are municipalities in which the hospital doesn’t have anywhere to put the dead and it has to take them to the cemetery, where autopsies are performed on the ground,” said Medicina Legal director Jose Ivan Gomez.
Medicina Legal performed 1,666 autopsies in Medellin and 958 in other Antioquian municipalities in the first half of this year, compared with 1,257 and 741 respectively in the same period last year, El Tiempo reported Wednesday.
Gomez said that more funding is needed to maintain and to improve morgue facilities.
Caracol Radio reported 560 murders occurred in the Medellin metropolitan area in the first six months of 2009. Fourteen people were murdered in Medellin last Sunday alone.
Medellin Ombudsman, Jorge Eliecer
Ceballos, said that homicide in the city increased by between 40 and 43 per cent in the first half of this year, compared to the same period last year. This figure is down from the 66 per cent increase in the first four months of 2009.
85 per cent of the murders in the first half of the year were committed with fire arms and 92 per cent of the victims were aged between 18 and 30, according to Caracol Radio.
68 per cent of the murders were attributed to retribution, control of drug trafficking and territorial disputes between gangs. 20 per cent were due to fights, domestic violence and ‘crimes of passion’.
Caracol Radio stated that ‘Medellin based NGOs’ are “alarmed by the situation” and they “think the Democratic Security policy has only been effective in the fight against guerrillas and highway surveillance, but has failed in the cities, especially in the big cities, like in the case of Medellin”.
Analysts say that other forms of violence such as threats and forced urban displacement are also concerning Medellin citizens, according to Caracol Radio.
Ombudsman Ceballos said that the increase in homicide is due a ‘war’ between restructuring mafia groups and that the city’s future “is not very promising”.