(CNN)Ghasan Saleh starts digging graves at the break of dawn to prepare for the dead bodies that will come in droves. Two men in white hazmat suits appear atop an approaching pickup truck. They hastily drop a corpse into a hole and cover it with dirt.
The health workers come and go in near-silence. Fear of infection means there are no mourners for those suspected to have died from Covid-19.
The cycle of digging and abrupt funerals continues under the blistering sun and suffocating humidity of Aden, the seat of power of the UN-recognized government in war-torn Yemen.
The Al Radwan cemetery has quickly expanded over the past few months, with new graves creeping closer to the residential buildings that border it. “You can see my digging machine,” says Saleh. “Just now I dug 20 graves.”
Local medical authorities say that death rates in Aden are soaring this year, despite a relative lull in a war that ravaged the place in previous years.