A truck crammed with migrant labourers trying to reach their distant homes amid a nationwide lockdown crashed in northern India on Saturday, killing at least 23 and injuring 35.

The accident occurred before daybreak, when the truck collided with another truck that was parked by a roadside eatery in the Auraiya district of Uttar Pradesh state, Abhishek Singh Meena, the top district official said.

“The rescue operation is almost complete and 23 people have been killed in the accident,” Singh told Reuters, adding 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.

Tens of thousands of impoverished migrant workers are on the move across India, walking on highways and railway tracks or riding trucks, buses and crowded trains in blazing heat. Some are accompanied by pregnant wives and young children, braving threats from the coronavirus pandemic.

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They say they have been forced to leave cities and towns where they had toiled for years building homes and roads after they were abandoned by their employers — casualties of lockdown to stop the virus from spreading.

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