This heartbreaking photo raised $43,000 in a single day

This heartbreaking photo raised $43,000 in a single day

A heartbreaking photograph of a young Indian boy crying next to his father's dead body has spurred people on social media to raise more than $43,000 in a single day.

The picture, which was shared on Twitter more than 7,000 times, shows the weeping son of a sewer worker named Amil, who tragically died when the rope lowering him into a sewer snapped, causing him to fall inside.

It is alleged that Amil's family did not even have the money to cremate him, but after the story was posted on Twitter, generous Indians online raised $43,829 (three million rupees or £33,350) for the cremation, as well as the education and well-being of his son and other children.

The incident has drawn attention to the plight of sewer workers in the South Asian country; a BBC report estimates that about 100 sewer workers die in India every single day and it said by unions that this is because they are not given proper safety equipment.

It was originally tweeted by Shiv Sunny, a member of staff at The Hindustan Times, on Monday after the reporter was "shaken" by the sight of the man's 11-year-old son.

"The boy walked up to his father's body at a crematorium, moved the sheet from the face, held the cheeks with both hands, just said 'papa' & began sobbing. The man was yet another poor labourer who died in a Delhi sewer on Friday. Family did not have money even for cremating him. (sic)," Sunny wrote on Twitter.

Sunny's tweet caught the attention of Uday Foundation, a non-governmental organisation that stepped in to raise funds with the help of Ketto, a crowdfunding platform.

The reporter has since told the BBC  that the incredible response was "totally unexpected", adding that famous Bollywood actors had contacted him to ask how they could help the family and that poorer people had donated sums of money as small as 10 rupees to the cause.

"I am a crime reporter and I have seen a lot of tragedy. But this was something I had never seen, he said. "I just wanted to draw attention to the deaths of sewer workers. It [the photo] told the story of the family's plight."

Speaking to the 11-year-old son, Sunny - who is hopeful that Anil's children will go to school with the funds raised - discovered that the young boy would sometimes accompany his father to work and "wait outside guarding his clothes and shoes from thieves".

He is quoted in the Hindustan Times as saying: "My father would say it still wasn't yet time for me to enter the sewers."

Reportedly, police speaking to the NDTV news website claimed that an investigation into the father's death had revealed that the rope supporting him was not strong enough. They also alleged that Anil had not been wearing protective gear.

This is the second incident involving the death of sewer workers in Delhi this month.