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the coronavirus crisis

The bodies of suspected COVID-19 victims are turning up in Indian rivers

The bodies of suspected COVID-19 victims continue to wash up in rivers across India, and many believe the corpses are being dumped due to overrun crematoriums and scarce and expensive firewood.

In the state of Bihar, 70 bodies were found floating in the Ganges River, with dozens more discovered upstream in the neighboring state of Uttar Pradesh; a net has since been placed in the river near the border to keep bodies from going downstream, The Guardian reports. In Madhya Pradesh state, bodies have been found in the Runj River, a source of water for villagers and livestock. Officials will take DNA samples from all of the bodies before burying them in a mass grave.

India is experiencing a surge in COVID-19 cases, with rural areas increasingly becoming the epicenters. On Tuesday, 4,205 coronavirus deaths were recorded in India, the highest number of the pandemic, along with 348,421 additional infections.

Because there are so many people dying, it's becoming harder to find crematoriums that can accept new bodies. Recently, photos circulated on social media showing ambulance drivers tossing bodies over a bridge on the border of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, The Guardian reports. In the Bihar city of Buxar, officials have been asked to "make locals aware about not throwing bodies into the river."