• Sunday, Sep 19, 2021
  • Last Update : 10:33 am

Swelling Ganges opens up India's riverside graves

  • Published at 09:06 pm June 25th, 2021
India Covid-19 Ganges River
Members of State Disaster Response Force patrol in the Ganges river past burning pyres of bodies that washed up on its banks on the outskirts of Prayagraj, India, on June 25, 2021 Reuters

Videos and pictures in May of bodies drifting down the river shocked the nation and underlined the ferocity of the world's biggest surge in infections

More corpses are washing up on the banks of the Ganges in India's most populous state of Uttar Pradesh, as rains swell the river and expose bodies buried in shallow graves during the peak of the country's latest wave of coronavirus infections.

Videos and pictures in May of bodies drifting down the river, which Hindus consider holy, shocked the nation and underlined the ferocity of the world's biggest surge in infections.

Though cases have come down drastically this month, the Uttar Pradesh city of Prayagraj alone has cremated 108 bodies found in the river in the last three weeks, said a senior municipal official.

"These are those dead bodies which were buried very close to the river and have gone into it with the rise in its water levels," Neeraj Kumar Singh told Reuters.

Reuters saw more than a dozen riverside pyres burning a few miles from Prayagraj.

India, the world's second most populous country, saw its health infrastructure crushed in April and May. Hospitals ran out of beds and life-saving oxygen and crematoriums became overwhelmed with the dead.

The government of Uttar Pradesh, home to 240 million people, acknowledged in May that bodies of Covid-19 victims were being dumped into rivers in a practice likely stemming from poverty and families abandoning victims for fear of the disease.

The state reported 224 Covid-19 infections overnight, taking its total caseload to 1.7 million, while total fatalities are at 22,366.

The pandemic has killed at least 3,918,236 people since the virus first emerged in December 2019, according to an AFP compilation of official data.

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