David Asta Alares |
New Delhi (EFE) Asian.
A crowd of grieving relatives of the victims has moved to Bhubaneswar, the capital of the eastern state of Odisha where the tragedy took place last Friday, to try to identify their loved ones.
But the seriousness of the accident and the days that many of the corpses spent out in the open have complicated the task, the city’s highest-ranking official, the collector Vijay Amruta Kulange, explained to EFE, to the point that the authorities are considering cremate unidentified bodies after taking DNA samples.
“The main challenge for identification is decomposition, because the corpses were in the open air for more than 36 hours. Due to the injuries, they began to decompose very quickly,” Kulange explained.
The state of the bodies is such, Kulange explained, that the relatives “come to see them but (…) they are not sure if they are the bodies of their relatives.”
Delhi television NDTV showed images of the crowded hospitals and health centers, with anxious relatives comparing crude photographs of the victims in print or on screens with those on their mobile phones.
India’s worst rail accident of the 21st century occurred last Friday in the Balasore district, when a signaling error being investigated led a passenger train onto a track occupied by a second parked freight train.
At that time, another passenger railway that was passing through the station collided with both.
The worst railway tragedy of the 21st century
At first, the rescue forces, overwhelmed by the magnitude of the collision between three trains, sent the bodies to nearby hospitals. Even a school was turned into a makeshift morgue.
Finally, the authorities yesterday transferred 193 corpses to the capital of Odisha, better equipped and connected to receive the relatives of the victims.
Since several hospitals in Bhubaneswar received the bodies yesterday, they have set up a control room to provide photographs taken “from various angles” of the victims, available both in the centers themselves and on the internet.
“We have already identified more than 70 people,” Kulange said.
What to do with the unidentified dead
In total, of the 275 deaths, 151 have been identified, Odisha General Secretary Pradeep Jena revealed on Twitter.
“All the bodies are being delivered after due process to be transferred to their destinations. Arrangements to transport the bodies to their destination are being carried out by the Odisha government” free of charge, Jena added.
It is a race against time, and the authorities must decide what to do with the bodies that have not been identified.
“Maybe a mass cremation, we have to consider that option and we are ready for it,” Kulange explained, a move that could come after DNA samples are taken from all the corpses.