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Sunday July 21, 2024

Heatwave: Around 200 people die in New Delhi in one week

India reports over 40,000 suspected heatstroke cases this summer; 110 confirmed deaths from March 1 toJune 18

By Reuters
June 20, 2024
A man drinks water from a pipe during a hot summer day in New Delhi, India, June 18, 2024. — Reuters
A man drinks water from a pipe during a hot summer day in New Delhi, India, June 18, 2024. — Reuters

NEW DELHI: As several parts of India remain gripped with heatwave, nearly 200 homeless people have died in the country's capital in the past week due to extreme weather condition, said a group dedicated to helping homeless individuals.

Times of India reported on Thursday that as many as 52 bodies were brought to hospitals in the past two days — most of them were poor people who lived and worked in the open.

Meanwhile, Centre for Holistic Development, while quoting government figures, has said that a total 192 homeless people died in New Delhi between June 11 and June 19 — a number higher than those reported in previous years.

"The poorest bear the cost of such climate change. Most of these people live below flyovers and out in the open and have no protection against the heat. These are mostly heatwave deaths," Sunil Kumar Aledia, who runs CHD, told Reuters.

India has recorded more than 40,000 suspected heatstroke cases this summer and at least 110 confirmed deaths between March 1 and June 18, when northwest and eastern India recorded more than twice the usual number of heatwave days.

"A prolonged summer should be classified as a natural disaster," The Hindu newspaper said in an editorial on Thursday, pointing to water shortages and record power demand.

The health ministry ordered federal and state institutions to ensure immediate attention to patients, while hospitals were directed to make more beds available.

The weather office has forecast above-normal temperatures for this month as well, and Delhi saw its warmest night in over 50 years on Wednesday, with a minimum temperature of 35.2°C (95°F), data from the weather department showed.

Temperatures, however, dropped nearly 6°C to 37°C (98.6°F) on Thursday in the capital after rain brought respite from the heat, weather department data showed.