Dozens of suspected Covid-19 corpses found in India’s Ganges river

Published May 11, 2021
Relatives wearing personal protective equipment mourn during the cremation of a person who died due to Covid-19 at a cremation ground in New Delhi on Tuesday. — AFP
Relatives wearing personal protective equipment mourn during the cremation of a person who died due to Covid-19 at a cremation ground in New Delhi on Tuesday. — AFP

Dozens of bodies believed to be Covid-19 victims have washed up on the banks of the Ganges river in northern India, officials said on Monday.

The pandemic has been spreading fast into India's vast rural hinterland, overwhelming local health facilities as well as crematoriums and cemeteries.

Local official Ashok Kumar said that about 40 corpses washed up in Buxar district near the border between Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, two of India's poorest states.

“We have directed concerned officials to dispose of all bodies, to either bury or cremate them,” Kumar told AFP.

Some media reports said the number of corpses could be as high as 100.

The reports quoted other officials as saying some of them were bloated and partially burned and could have been in the river for several days.

Locals told AFP that they believed the bodies had been dumped in the river because cremation sites were overwhelmed or because relatives could not afford wood for funeral pyres.

“It is really shocking for us,” local resident Kameshwar Pandey told AFP.

According to official statistics, around 4,000 people are currently dying from coronavirus every day in India and the death toll is almost 250,000.

But citing anecdotal evidence from crematoriums, many experts believe that the true daily number could be several times higher.

This is particularly the case now that the current surge has spread beyond major cities into rural areas where hospitals are few and far between and record-keeping poor.

Opinion

Reservations about SNC
Updated 21 Jun 2021

Reservations about SNC

The volume of the subject matter to be covered in an academic year which is usually seven and a half months long is frightening.

Editorial

Poll consensus
Updated 21 Jun 2021

Poll consensus

If the govt is reluctant to take part in an APC on poll reforms, then it must ensure that parliament can be used for this purpose.
21 Jun 2021

Global displacement

THE number of globally displaced persons shared by the UN’s refugee agency in a report released on Friday is...
21 Jun 2021

KP budget

THE KP budget 2021-22 is a sort of please-all document that hands out something to almost everyone in the hope of...
20 Jun 2021

More vaccines needed

THE vaccination rate in the country has slowed in recent days and could result in a crisis if not addressed...
20 Jun 2021

Balochistan protest

THE clashes outside the Balochistan Assembly on budget day were unfortunate. But they had been waiting to happen. ...
Silent victims
Updated 20 Jun 2021

Silent victims

THE deafening silence of political authorities, including leaders from the religious right, on the Mufti Azizur...