In­dia’s deadly heat wave per­sists

SundayXtra - - CANADA / WORLD - By Ashok Sharma

NEW DELHI — Au­thor­i­ties in a parched west­ern In­dian state sprin­kled wa­ter in the streets and awaited the ar­rival of a spe­cial wa­ter train Satur­day, two days af­ter tem­per­a­tures reached a record-high 51 C.

Sev­eral hos­pi­tals in the desert state of Ra­jasthan, which has been hit worst by a heat wave that has spread to many parts of In­dia, have set aside beds to treat heat­stroke victims. Tele­vi­sion video Satur­day showed heat­stroke pa­tients be­ing wheeled in on stretch­ers, with paramedics cov­er­ing them with ice packs and pour­ing wa­ter on them.

The main sum­mer months in In­dia — April, May and June — are al­ways ex­cru­ci­at­ingly hot across most of the coun­try, be­fore mon­soon rains bring cooler tem­per­a­tures.

In Ra­jasthan Satur­day, mu­nic­i­pal work­ers sprin­kled wa­ter in res­i­den­tial ar­eas of the city of Bikaner, and a train filled with 2.5 mil­lion litres of wa­ter headed to­wards the town of Bhilwara.

In­dian me­dia re­ported 16 deaths in Ra­jasthan, where nearly 17,000 vil­lages in 19 of 33 dis­tricts were fac­ing wa­ter short­ages.

The In­dia Me­te­o­ro­log­i­cal De­part­ment said max­i­mum tem­per­a­tures will likely fall by 2 C to 3 C in Ra­jasthan next week. But no sig­nif­i­cant change is ex­pected in north­ern In­dia.

The blis­ter­ing heat also is sweep­ing across large parts of the north­ern state of Ut­tar Pradesh, with six deaths re­ported there in the past month.

On Thurs­day, the city of Philodi in Ra­jasthan state suf­fered through the coun­try’s high­est recorded tem­per­a­ture — 51 C. In­dia’s me­te­o­ro­log­i­cal de­part­ment said the pre­vi­ous high was 50.6 C, reached in 1956 in the city of Al­war, also in Ra­jasthan.

Heat­stroke has claimed 109 lives in south­ern Andhra Pradesh state, where pre-mon­soon show­ers have bro­ken the hot spell, a state gov­ern­ment state­ment said.

The in­tense heat wave in west­ern Gu­jarat state has claimed 17 lives this month, with tem­per­a­tures touch­ing 48 C.

Of­fi­cials have shut schools in sev­eral states, in­clud­ing Ra­jasthan, New Delhi, Ut­tar Pradesh and Gu­jarat, to pro­tect chil­dren from the heat wave.

Au­thor­i­ties have is­sued a list of pre­cau­tions, urg­ing peo­ple to stay in­doors, shun un­nec­es­sary travel in the sun, in­crease in­take of wa­ter and seek med­i­cal at­ten­tion if they feel the symp­toms of heat­stroke.

Au­thor­i­ties is­sued a se­vere heat-wave alert for the week­end in Gu­jarat, Ra­jasthan and parts of the cen­tral state of Mad­hya Pradesh. That means the ar­eas can ex­pect tem­per­a­tures of at least 47 C.

The mon­soon nor­mally hits south­ern In­dia in the first week of June and cov­ers the rest of the na­tion within a month. It is es­pe­cially ea­gerly awaited this year be­cause sev­eral parts of the coun­try are reel­ing un­der a drought brought on by two years of weak rains.

CHANNI ANAND / THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

A girl drinks water from an ir­ri­ga­tion tube in sti­fling heat on the out­skirts of Jammu, In­dia, Satur­day.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.