India reports over 40,000 suspected heatstroke cases over summer

Billions across Asia are grappling with extreme heat this summer in a trend scientists say has been worsened by human-driven climate change

By Reuters
June 20, 2024
A woman covered with a cloth to protect herself from the heat walks on a road during a heatwave in Ahmedabad, India, May 29, 2024. — Reuters

NEW DELHI/GUWAHATI: India recorded more than 40,000 suspected heatstroke cases this summer as a prolonged heatwave killed more than 100 people across the country, while parts of its northeast grappled with floods from heavy rain, authorities said.

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Billions across Asia are grappling with extreme heat this summer in a trend scientists say has been worsened by human-driven climate change, with temperatures in north India soaring to almost 50 degrees Celsius (122 degrees Fahrenheit) in one of the longest heatwave spells recorded.

Birds fell from the skies due to extreme heat and hospitals reported an inflow of heat-affected patients as both day and night time temperatures peaked in recent weeks since the start of summer in March.

The health ministry ordered federal and state institutions to ensure “immediate attention” to patients, while hospitals in the capital Delhi, which is also facing a water shortage, were directed make more beds available.

A health ministry official said there were more than 40,000 suspected heatstroke cases and at least 110 confirmed deaths between March 1 and June 18, when northwest and eastern India recorded twice the usual number of heatwave days.

The weather office has forecast above normal temperatures for this month too, as authorities say Indian cities have become “heat traps”due to unbalanced growth.

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