No fewer than 23 immigrant workers have been confirmed dead in an accident that occurred before daybreak when a truck collided with another truck that was parked by a roadside eatery in the Auraiya district of Uttar Pradesh state in India.
A top official from the district, Abhishek Singh Meena, who confirmed the development to Reuters, stated that the rescue operation is almost complete and 23 people have been killed in the accident
He added that 20 people had suffered serious injuries, while the rest had minor wounds.
The migrants mainly hailed from the states of Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal.
India had locked down its 1.3 billion citizens almost seven weeks ago in an attempt to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus, sparking a crisis for the hundreds of millions of Indians that rely on daily wages to survive.
With no work – and little public transport – many urban migrants attempting to return to their home villages have set out on gruelling journeys on foot, or hitching rides in the back of trucks.
On May 13, six migrants walking to their homes in Bihar were crushed to death by a speeding truck in Muzaffarnagar, also in Uttar Pradesh. Three others sustained serious injuries. The driver was arrested.
On Friday, UP’s Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath ordered bureaucrats and police officers across the state to arrange buses and taxi cabs to ferry migrants back to their hometowns. No one should walk, cycle or travel by trucks, he said.