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State authorities in India's Uttar Pradesh and Bihar have been left exposed after hundreds of bodies suspected of being COVID patients were found to be floating in the Ganges River.
For the last two days, several videos have surfaced on social media, depicting what appears to be hundreds of decomposed bodies floating downstream. According to local reports, the bodies were dumped at Mahadev Ghat on the Ganges River banks in the village of Chausa in the state of Bihar and the Ghazipur district of Uttar Pradesh. The two states share a border.
Several residents of Chausa, Bihar, have spoken to Sputnik correspondents and have stated that there is a panic-like situation across the village after the incident became public on Monday.
"There is a panic-like situation across the village because people fear that the bodies may be of COVID patients. The bodies would be washed downstream, and there are chances of the virus spreading. Firstly, there are very few health facilities available for people of the village and now this, where should we go", said Vikram Jha.
Another resident, Brijesh Singh, stated that people from other villages have been coming and disposing of bodies as they cannot pay the hefty prices of crematorium/burial grounds or find a place to cremate their loved ones.
"Some people immersed the bodies in the river while others disposed of half-burnt bodies in the water. I have seen around 40 bodies since yesterday [Monday]", Singh said.
However, the local administration believes that as the district's border is closed to Uttar Pradesh, the bodies may have washed up from some other place in the state. Reacting to the suspected allegations, a senior official from the Uttar Pradesh government stated that the bodies did not come from their state. Meanwhile, several bodies were found floating in the same river in Uttar Pradesh's Ghazipur district on Tuesday.
"Around 70 bodies have been recovered so far from the district. As the district is close to the Uttar Pradesh border, there are chances that the bodies might have come from there. A post-mortem has been done by a board of doctors, while DNA samples are being preserved for tests to establish identity. We will be carrying out their cremation", District Magistrate Aman Sarin told Sputnik.
Ghazipur District Magistrate MP Singh said that a probe is underway into the matter. "We are trying to find out where they came from," he said while speaking to the media.
The incidents come at a time when the country's health infrastructure has been severely stretched during the second wave of COVID. Medical experts have hinted that the deadlier second wave is fast spreading to rural districts. Many rural communities in India lack the basic medical infrastructure to tackle the pandemic.
#India and #EU | On Saturday announced the resumption of negotiations on three balanced and comprehensive trade-related agreements but were unable to reach common ground on calls for a waiver of patent protections for #COVID19 vaccines.https://t.co/qgKmgIFiIu