Scores of dead bodies found floating in India's Ganges River

Joanna Estrada
May 11, 2021

"Definitely", Srivastava said, "more deaths are happening".

Scores of bodies of suspected coronavirus victims have washed up on the Ganges River banks in India, according to officials.

The BBC confirmed that at least 40 bodies were found - with the condition of the corpses indicating that they might have been floating in the waters of the Ganges for a few days.

More corpses were found floating in the river on Tuesday, washing up in Ghazipur district in neighbouring Uttar Pradesh state.

Health officials working through the night on Monday retrieved 71 bodies, officials in Bihar state said. Officials also reported that the bodies may have ended up in the river as part of the practice of cremating victims of Covid-19 along the Ganges river in Uttar Pradesh.

The country is struggling to keep a massive surge in Covid infections under control as it tangles with deadly, more transmissible Covid variants - but the daily death toll has continued to rise far beyond what the country's crematoriums can handle.

Experts say actual numbers could be five to 10 times higher, and citizens across the country are struggling to find hospital beds, oxygen, or medicine, leaving many to die for lack of treatment.

India, now witnessing the world's worst outbreak of Covid-19, has a total caseload of over 22.6 million.

"Speculation grew about the bodies being of those villagers who succumbed to coronavirus", India Today reported.

"Due to the shortage of wood, the dead are being buried in the water", he said. "How did they get here?" said Mangla Prasad Singh, a local official.

An investigation is under way and efforts to identify the deceased have begun, local media reported.

All of the figures are nearly certainly a vast undercount, experts say.

In an AFP news agency interview, World Health Organization chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan meanwhile said "early signs were missed (in India) until it reached the point at which it was taking off vertically", meaning "it's multiplying at a rate at which it's very hard to stop".

"A failure of governance of epic and historic proportions", Vipin Narang, a political science professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the United States, said on Twitter.

"Our organisation collects these remains from all the crematoriums and performs the last rituals in Haridwar so that they can achieve salvation", said Ashish Kashyap, a volunteer from the charity Shri Deodhan Sewa Samiti.

By Monday, the world's largest vaccine-producing nation had fully vaccinated just over 34.8 million, or about 2.5 percent, of a population of about 1.35 billion, government data shows.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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