Cold kills dozens in India

2010-01-03 12:23

New Delhi - More than 30 people have died in cold weather-related incidents in northern India in the past 24 hours, including 10 people killed in train accidents caused by dense fog, police said on Sunday.

A cold snap left at least two dozen homeless people dead in Uttar Pradesh state since Saturday, taking the death toll from exposure in the region to 40 over the past week, police spokesperson Surendra Srivastava said. Last winter the state reported 151 cold-related deaths.

Authorities began distributing blankets and firewood to the homeless last week.

The cold caused dense fog that also led to two separate train collisions that killed 10 people and injured 47 others on Saturday in Uttar Pradesh, police said.

In other areas of northern India, including New Delhi, poor visibility grounded or delayed dozens of flights Saturday, said Shashanka Nanda, a spokesman for the Delhi International Airport Limited. Conditions had improved by Sunday, he said.

Local television channels showed footage of hundreds of frazzled passengers and large piles of luggage crowding the airport terminals in the Indian capital.

Continued low visibility also disrupted rail schedules across large swathes of northern India stranding thousands of people, railway official NK Srivastava said in Lucknow, the capital of Uttar Pradesh.

On Saturday the temperature dipped below five degrees in parts of Uttar Pradesh and colder weather is expected, the local meteorological office said.

Associated Press writer Biswajeet Banerjee contributed to this report from Lucknow, India.