India’s Gripping Heatwave Drags On As Death Toll Exceeds 1000

The elderly and the poor are struggling to find shelter and they are the most effected by the heatwave.
heatwave, india

The heatwave gripping India has reportedly claimed hundreds of lives and is persisting in a few areas.

According to CNN, At least 1,020 people have died in the neighboring state of Andhra Pradesh, along with 11 in Odisha, taking the national toll from this heat wave to 1,371.

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The highest maximum temperature recorded on Wednesday was 47 C or 116.6 F, at Daltonganj in eastern state of Jharkhand and Titlagarh in Odisha.

Daytime temperatures were up to 7 C higher than average in coastal areas of Andhra Pradesh State, said meteorological chief B.P. Yadav. However, in coming days, temperatures in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana were expected to fall up to 2 C, he said.

Earlier this week, it got so hot in Delhi that roads started showing signs of melting. On Wednesday night, a light shower in Hyderabad brought some relief to millions who had been praying for rain.

During the day, India’s homeless try to find shelter. But in Delhi on Wednesday night, many were seen sleeping on footpaths, and on the concrete strips between roads. Even at night, when CNN’s Omar Khan took these photos, the temperature ranged from between 35 and 37 C, or 95 to 98.6 F.

“This is the highest death toll due to heatwave ever in the state,” said Tulasi Rani, the special commissioner for disaster management in Andhra Pradesh. “Last year around 447 people died due to heat. This year the heatwave is continuing for a longer period than in previous years.”

According to the Guardian, local authorities across India have launched intensive awareness campaigns, asking people to stay indoors between 1pm and 4pm and advising them to wear broad-brimmed hats and light-coloured cotton clothes, use umbrellas and drink lots of fluid.

The capital’s air conditioned metro and shopping malls have become much-sought-after havens from the heat, while power cuts in residential areas were frequent as the grid struggled to cope with the demand from millions of air conditioners.

Residents of Gurgaon – a high-rise satellite city, home to many of the Delhi’s workers – experienced power cuts of up to 10 hours a day. “Nothing is working – even after taking half a dozen baths a day, you can’t beat the heat,” shop owner Manish Singh said. “It’s worse than previous years; we hardly get any electricity and the air conditioners become useless.”

May and June are India’s hottest months, with temperatures regularly pushing above 40C. But meteorologists say the number of days when temperatures approach 45C has increased in the past 15 years.

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