Rain is re­lief as In­dia heat wave death toll tops 2,200

The China Post - - INTERNATIONAL -

Scat­tered rain on Sun­day brought much-needed but only tem­po­rary re­lief to parts of In­dia hit by a long heat wave as the death toll from the blis­ter­ing tem­per­a­tures crossed 2,200, of­fi­cials said.

Thun­der­storms struck sec­tions of south­ern states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, which have borne the brunt of the dead­li­est heat wave in more than two decades, as well as the cap­i­tal New Delhi.

But the toll con­tin­ued to climb and the weather bureau warned that tem­per­a­tures in swathes of south­ern, west­ern and north­ern In­dia would hover around 45 de­grees Cel­sius ( 113 de­grees Fahren­heit) in com­ing days.

“1,636 peo­ple have now died in the Andhra state,” P. Tulsi Rani, a top dis­as­ter man­age­ment of­fi­cial, told AFP.

An­other 541 peo­ple have died in neigh­bor­ing Telangana from the heat wave, an of­fi­cial said. Hospi- tals are strug­gling to cope with the num­ber of pa­tients suf­fer­ing from se­vere heat­stroke.

Hun­dreds of mainly poor peo­ple die at the height of sum­mer ev­ery year in In­dia, but this year’s fig­ures are al­ready the high­est since 1995 when of­fi­cial In­dian data showed 1,677 peo­ple suc­cumbed to the heat.

Ex­perts point to record high tem­per­a­tures this year over a longer pe­riod than usual.

In his monthly ra­dio ad­dress on Sun­day, Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi urged ev­ery­one “to take care of your­selves in this heat” as In­dia waits for the mon­soon rains to hit.

In the eastern state of Orissa, 21 deaths have now been recorded from the heat, with at least an­other nine deaths re­ported else­where in the coun­try, the Press Trust of In­dia news agency re­ported.

A brief spell of rain on Sun­day brought slight re­lief in the Delhi re­gion but the tem­per­a­ture again touched 43 de­grees Cel­sius (109 Fahren­heit) in the af­ter­noon.

In­dia de­clares a heat wave when the max­i­mum tem­per­a­ture hits 45 de­grees Cel­sius, or five de­grees higher than the av­er­age for the area in pre­vi­ous years.

The an­nual mon­soon, which had been fore­cast to make land­fall in the south­ern state of Ker­ala on May 30, has slowed in the Bay of Ben­gal, ac­cord­ing to fore­cast­ers. It is now pre­dicted to ar­rive on Mon­day be­fore sweep­ing across the coun­try’s arid plains in the weeks ahead.

AP

An In­dian man bathes in wa­ter from a road­side tap in Kolkata, In­dia, Sun­day, May 31. Heat-re­lated con­di­tions, in­clud­ing de­hy­dra­tion and heat stroke, have killed more than 2,000 peo­ple since mid-April in the south­ern In­dian states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, ac­cord­ing to state of­fi­cials.

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