Hundreds die in India heat wave

Death toll from severe heat wave reportedly crosses 500, with the country’s southern states the worst affected.

The government of Andhra Pradesh has declared the situation caused by the heat wave as "alarming" [AFP]
The government of Andhra Pradesh has declared the situation caused by the heat wave as "alarming" [AFP]

The death toll from a severe heat wave has risen to 500 in India, with at least 470 of the deaths reported in India’s two southern states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.

Hospitals in both states were flooded with patients suffering from sun stroke and dehydration from the intense heat, as the weather office predicted similar conditions for the next two weeks.

The situation has been aggravated further with frequent power cuts.

Some people complained that the water supply at the hospital in Visakhapatnam city of Andhra Pradesh was irregular, and fans were not functioning.

The government of Andhra Pradesh had last week declared the situation caused by the heat wave was “alarming” and appealed to people not to venture out between 11am and 4pm.

The chief minister of the state also announced it would deliver aid of one lakh rupees ($1572) to the families of victims of heat wave.


Al Jazeera’s senior weather presenter, Rob McElwee, said: “Temperatures this high occur elsewhere in the world and are survivable, but it’s the level of humidity which causes heat stress.

“Chennai’s 42C on Monday was accompanied by 43 percent relative humidity. These two figures together, temperature and humidity, create a dangerous heat stress environment.”

Meanwhile, Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) officials in southern Hyderabad city said that the acute heat would continue for the next two weeks.

“In coastal Andhra Pradesh, the temperature now in most of the districts is between 43 and 47C. In Telangana (a neighbouring state), most of the places recorded 40 to 45C. Severe heat wave conditions persist in both states. This is expected to continue today and tomorrow. After that, both the states would get some relief as we expect rainfall.

Temperatures would fall by three to four degrees but the relief would only be temporary. This type of heat wave would continue till the onset of monsoon over the southern coast,” said IMD assistant director, M Narasimha Rao, in Hyderabad.

He added that the monsoon, which was expected to hit the southern Kerala coast on May 30, would reach Andhra Pradesh and Telangana by the first week of June, providing respite to people.

The twin southern states have so far been the worst affected from this year’s heat wave.

India has long-suffered deadly heat waves and periods of extreme temperatures have led to thousands of deaths since the 1990s.

Northern, western and central parts of India suffer intense heat waves from mid-April to July before monsoon rains hit the region and provide relief.

Source : Al Jazeera, Reuters


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