Over 150 bodies from the Balasore train disaster, whose official death toll has been revised from 288 to 275, remained unidentified on Sunday evening.
Many of the relatives of the passengers have arrived from Bengal, besides Jharkhand and Tamil Nadu, and are doing the rounds of the hospitals and morgues.
Several relatives complained of a lack of help from the authorities in identifying the bodies.
Following the complaints, the Odisha government on Sunday uploaded photographs of the dead on the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation’s website: www.bmc.gov.in.
“Given the nature of the accident, the images posted are disturbing. It is advised that children avoid viewing these images,” the chief secretary’s office said in a media release. It also issued a helpline number: 1929.
“None (Media/ Individual/ Firms etc) shall reproduce/ publish and use the images for any purpose without prior written approval of the Special Relief Commissioner, Odisha,” the release added.
The municipal commissioner’s office in Bhubaneswar has set up a control room from where families would be provided vehicles free of charge and directed to the correct hospital or mortuary.
Helpdesks have been set up at the railway station, main bus stand and the SCB Medical College in Cuttack, and the railway station, Baramunda Bus Stand and Biju Patnaik Airport in Bhubaneswar.
A 45-year-old mother from Bengal was seen searching for her 23-year-old son, hopping from one hospital to another in Balasore.
“My son, Md Mazhar, was travelling on the Bangalore-Howrah (Superfast) Express. He boarded the train at Bhadrak and we were expecting him to reach Howrah late on Friday night. But the accident changed everything,” she said.
“We can’t find any help from any quarter. We went to the Soro police and they just said, ‘Give us the phone number and we will inform you’. We don’t need any help but the administration should find our missing son.”
A family friend accompanying the anxious mother said: “We have visited all the hospitals in Balasore, Bahanaga and Soro. The police are yet to register a general missing persons complaint. It’s maddening.”
He added: “However, the local people have helped us a lot, guiding us from one hospital to another.”
Social media is flooded with accounts of hapless relatives travelling from one morgue to another.
A 60-year-old man from Basudevpur in Bhadrak district was seen searching for his son at Bahanaga on Saturday, lifting the drapes over the bodies that had been laid on the ground at the local high school.
“I am illiterate. My son is missing. I don’t know who will be there to support me,” the man said.
By Sunday morning, all the unidentified bodies had been moved to different morgues.
The debris from the main track has been removed. However, normal service on the route will take a few more days to resume.