India Covid: The River Ganges is swollen with dead bodies

“The River Ganga was swollen with dead bodies”, the famous Hindi language writer and poet, Suryakant Tripathi, better known as Nirala, wrote about the 1918 outbreak of Spanish flu in his village in a province which is now India’s Uttar Pradesh state.Ambulance staff in India have been accused of dumping the bodies of Covid-19 victims into the Ganges River, as corpses washed up on its banks for the second consecutive day.

On Monday, at least 40 bodies were pulled from the river some 55km (34 miles) downstream from Gahmar. How the bodies got there is unclear, but it is thought they are Covid-19 victims. Their identities are unknown.

As more “bodies in the river” surfaced on Tuesday in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, corpses were seen floating under a bridge near the border between the two states in an escalating human tragedy amid Covid. Officials in Bihar said the number of corpses that had washed up on the Ganga banks at Buxar on Monday was a staggering 71 and they blame Uttar Pradesh for them.

Visuals of bodies allegedly thrown over a bridge by ambulance drivers were widely shared on social media, where posts expressed shock at the insensitivity towards Covid victims and their families. Some media reports said as many as 100 bodies had been found, and that their condition suggested they may have been in the river for several days.

A second wave of the virus is ravaging parts of India, with deaths rising significantly in recent weeks. Most of the country’s crematoriums have run out of spaces. India is now the epicentre of the global pandemic and has recorded more than 23 million cases and 258,351 deaths. However experts believe the real death toll could be far higher.



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