Scores of dead bodies found floating in Ganges River
NEW DELHI (AP):
Scores of dead bodies have been found floating down the Ganges River in eastern India as the country battles a ferocious surge in coronavirus infections. The authorities said on Tuesday that they haven’t yet determined the cause of death.
Health officials working through the night on Monday retrieved 71 bodies, officials in Bihar state said.
Images on social media of the bodies floating in the river prompted outrage and speculation that they died from COVID-19. The authorities performed post mortems on Tuesday, but said they could not confirm the cause of death due to the decomposition of the bodies.
More corpses were found floating in the river on Tuesday, washing up in Ghazipur district in neighbouring Uttar Pradesh state. The police and villagers were at the site, about 50 kilometres (30 miles) from Monday’s incident.
“We are trying to find out where did these dead bodies come from. How did they get here?” said Mangla Prasad Singh, a local official.
Surinder, a resident of Ghazipur who uses one name, said villagers didn’t have enough wood to cremate their dead on land.
“Due to the shortage of wood, the dead are being buried in the water,” he said. “Bodies from around 12 to13 villages have been buried in the water.”
Bihar and Uttar Pradesh are experiencing rising COVID-19 cases as infections in India grow faster than anywhere else in the world.
On Tuesday, the country confirmed nearly 390,000 new cases, including 3,876 more deaths. Overall, India has had the second-highest number of confirmed cases after the US, with nearly 23 million and over 240,000 deaths. All of the figures are almost certainly a vast undercount, experts say.