Dozens of bodies wash up on riverbank in India

(Photo: BBC)

The bodies of at least 40 people have washed up on the bank of the Ganges river in Northern India.

Officials are not clear on how the bodies came to be there, but local media reports suggest that they are COVID-19 victims and that their condition suggests they may have been in the river for several days.

BBC reports officials saying these bodies appear bloated and partially burnt and that they may have ended up in the river as part of the practice of cremating victims of coronavirus along the river Ganges in Uttar Pradesh.

But according to the outlet, a shortage of wood for cremations and the rising costs associated with funerals have forced some families to put the bodies of loved ones who had died from coronavirus directly into the river.

The country is now the epicentre of the global pandemic.

India has recorded more than 22.6 million coronavirus cases and 246,116 Covid-related deaths since the start of the pandemic, according to Johns Hopkins University data.