More than 100 people die in India heat wave
Indian officials say more than 100 people have lost their lives as a result of boiling early-summer temperatures that have forced the closure of schools and cessation of outdoor work.
Authorities said on Thursday that 45 people died in the southern state of Telangana due to heatstroke and another 17 lost their lives in Andhra Pradesh. Some 43 deaths were also reported in the eastern state of Odisha on the Bay of Bengal.
Y.K. Reddy, a director at the Indian Meteorological Department, said Telangana has recorded its highest April temperatures since 2006.
Reddy further warned that the death toll in Telangana is expected to rise, and meteorological officials have advised local residents to stay indoors.
Last week, the education department ordered the shutdown of schools in Telangana amid sizzling temperatures.
State officials in Odisha have also ordered schools to remain closed until April 26, and banned construction work.
“We had never recorded such high temperatures in these months in more than 100 years,” P.K. Mohapatra, a special relief commissioner in the state, commented.
“I am closing my shop before noon because it is too hot. You cannot stay in the shop,” Tulu Sahu, a grocery seller in Bhubaneshwar city of Odisha, said.
Senior lawyer PS Narasimha has told the Supreme Court that about 330 million people, making a quarter of India’s population, are suffering from severe water shortages and drought in the country.
A non-governmental organization has already filed a petition asking Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government to release more funds to the affected areas.
India’s hottest months are May and June, when the mercury goes up as high as 45 degrees Celsius (113 Fahrenheit). The stifling climate is to persist until the wet phase of the Asian monsoon begins in early June.