Locals believe the bodies were thrown into the river because the crematorium was too large or families could not afford to pay for the funeral.
Many bodies of people believed to have died of COVID-19 have washed away along the Ganges River in northern India, officials said Monday.
District Commissioner Ashok Kumar said about 40 bodies were washed in Buxar state near the border between Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, two of India’s poorest provinces.
“We have advised the authorities concerned to dispose of all the bodies, to bury them or to burn them,” Kumar told AFP.
The epidemic is spreading rapidly in rural India, many medical centers and crematoriums.
Citizens have told AFP they believe the bodies were dumped in the river because the crematorium was full or because relatives could not afford to pay for the funeral.
“It’s a great surprise for us,” Kameshwar Pandey told reporters.
Some media reports say there may be as many as 100 dead.
The report also said that some officials said some of them had swollen and slightly burned and could remain in the river for several days.
According to government statistics, about 4,000 people are currently dying from coronavirus every day in India and about 250,000 deaths.
But based on unconfirmed evidence from a crematorium, many experts believe that the actual daily figure may be several times higher.
This is especially so as the current increase has spread from big cities to rural areas where hospitals are very limited and poor.