Printed on Fri May 27 2022 12:54:47 PM

At least 25 were killed in India due to extreme heat

International desk

India’s western state of Maharashtra has registered 25 deaths from heatstroke since late March, the highest toll in the past five years, with more fatalities likely elsewhere in a country sweltering in temperatures over 40° Celsius.

Researchers have linked the early onset of an intense summer to climate change, and say more than a billion people in India and neighboring Pakistan were in some way vulnerable to the extreme heat.

With cooling monsoon rains only expected next month and increasingly frequent power outages in some parts of India, even households that can afford air conditioners will have little respite over the next several weeks.

Many of the deaths in Maharashtra occurred in the more rural areas of India’s richest state.

“These are suspected heatstroke deaths,” Pradeep Awate, a Maharashtra health official, told the news agency.

India is the world’s second-biggest wheat producer, but the heat is set to shrivel this year’s crop, after five consecutive years of record harvests.

As power demand surges, creating organizations are staring at massive shortages of coal and the government is pleading with them to move forward imports.

India recorded its hottest March in over a century, with the maximum temperature across the country rising to 33.1° Celsius, nearly 1.86° above normal, according to the India Meteorological Department.

Many parts of India’s north, west and the east saw temperatures surging past 40°C last month.

In the eastern state of Odisha, authorities said a 64-year-old man died of heatstroke on April 25 and hundreds of others have been given medical treatment.
In Subarnapur, Odisha’s hottest district, a high of 43.2° C was recorded on Tuesday.

“It is so hot,” Subarnapur resident Mohana Mahakur said. “Fan, air cooler – nothing is working.”


Read More: Lack of coal threatens severe power crisis in India

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