A day after the bloody dispersal of two Islamist sit-ins by security forces left hundreds dead, the Al-Iman Mosque in Nasr City had been converted into a makeshift morgue, where ice and fans were used to cool the bodies of the slain protesters.
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Chaos ensued, triggering deadly clashes across the country. The Freedom and Justice Party—the political arm of the Muslim Brotherhood—and families of the dead who were at Al-Iman Mosque claim that the death toll from the two protest camps was more than two thousand. Mada Masr could not verify the exact numbers. A quick count of the bodies at the mosque came to around , while dozens more were scattered in the streets surrounding Zeinhom.
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Families of the victims told Mada Masr that there were many more dead inside, but journalists were not allowed to enter. The scene at the mosque and the morgue were chaotic. Bodies were placed in different sections of the mosque as families and volunteers rushed around putting loads of ice around the corpses.
Huge fans were used to lower the temperature and protect against the scorching heat outside.
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As hundreds of mourners and devastated families flocked to the mosque, the atmosphere grew increasingly tense. A volunteer told Mada Masr that they had been working tirelessly through the night to take care of the bodies, since it was difficult to transfer them to the morgue. Fears were mounting over the potentially serious hygiene issues that could be caused by the unsanitary conditions in which the cadavers were kept. A morgue or mortuary in a hospital or elsewhere is used for the storage of human corpses awaiting identification or removal for autopsy or respectful burial , cremation or other method.
In modern times corpses have customarily been refrigerated to delay decomposition. Mortuary early 14c. Meaning "place where bodies are kept temporarily" first recorded , a euphemism for earlier English term "deadhouse.
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Morgue from the French morgue , which means 'to look at solemnly, to defy'. Morgue is predominantly used in North American English , while mortuary is more common in British English , although both terms are used interchangeably. A person responsible for handling and washing bodies is now known as a diener , morgue attendant, or autopsy technician. While this is usually used for keeping bodies for up to several weeks, it does not prevent decomposition, which continues at a slower rate than at room temperature. Usually used at forensic institutes, particularly when a body has not been identified.
At these temperatures the body is completely frozen and decomposition is very much reduced.
In some countries, the body of the deceased is embalmed before disposal, which makes refrigeration unnecessary. In many countries, the family of the deceased must make the burial within 72 hours three days of death, but in some other countries it is usual that burial takes place some weeks or months after the death.
This is why some corpses are kept as long as one or two years at a hospital or in a funeral home. When the family has enough money to organize the ceremony, the corpse is taken from the cold chamber for burial. In some funeral homes, the morgue is in the same room, or directly adjacent to, the specially designed ovens, known as retorts , that are used in funerary cremation.
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Some religions dictate that, should a body be cremated, the family must witness its incineration. To honor these religious rites, many funeral homes install a viewing window, which allows the family to watch as the body is inserted into the retort. In this way, the family can honor their customs without entering the morgue. Oversized mortuary fridge spaces have been installed in British hospitals to cope with the increase in obesity.
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A waiting mortuary is a mortuary building designed specifically for the purpose of confirming that deceased persons are truly deceased. Prior to the advent of modern methods of verifying death, people feared that they would be buried alive. To alleviate such fears, the recently deceased were housed for a time in waiting mortuaries, where attendants would watch for signs of life.
The corpses would be allowed to decompose partially prior to burial.
Waiting mortuaries were most popular in 19th-century Germany, and were often large, ornate halls. A bell was strung to the corpses to alert attendants of any motion.