“Usually they are either single people: bachelors, spinsters who have no acquaintances at all, or there are circumstances where we are unable to reach family members.”
If a body remain unclaimed for two months, notifications are sent out to the person’s final address, and messages are sent to their parishes in an effort to find someone who can organise the funeral.
Five months on from the death, a notification is published in the Government Gazette, and ten days later the state will begin organising the burial.
In 2021, two people were buried after this lengthy process and the other 16 were buried with less time elapsing. 80 occurred in the last five years.
“People are often known but relatives either do not want to carry out the funeral or do not have the financial means to do so,” Grima said.
“They fall in the same category as people who can’t be identified and who are going through the forensic process, for example immigrants who have drowned. When we have taken DNA samples, have a DNA profile and the Magistrate is satisfied and closes the investigation, basically the funeral can take place. ”
Had you ever heard of this happening in Malta before?