LUCKNOW, India -- At least 23 migrant workers were killed Saturday when a truck they were traveling in crashed into a stationary truck on a highway in northern India, an official said.
Tens of thousands of migrant laborers have been returning from big cities to their villages after losing jobs because of a countrywide lockdown imposed in late March to contain the spread of the coronavirus.
The government has started a limited number of trains to facilitate their travel, but thousands are using trucks and buses or even riding bikes or walking long distances on the highways.
Magistrate Abhishek Singh said 20 other people were injured in the latest accident near Auraiya, a village in Uttar Pradesh state. The cause of the crash is being investigated.
Local villagers were the first to reach the site and help the victims. “The injured have been rushed to hospitals where the condition of several people is said to be critical,” Singh said.
The workers were on their way from New Delhi to their villages in Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal states, Singh said. Auraiya is 230 kilometers (145 miles) southwest of Lucknow, the capital of Uttar Pradesh state.
In the past week, dozens of workers have been killed across India, On May 8, a train plowed through a group sleeping on the tracks in western Maharashtra state, killing 16. Another 15 laborers were killed in three separate road accidents.