India reels under prolonged heatwave

2015-05-30 14:23
(Sanjay Kanojia, AFP)

(Sanjay Kanojia, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Hyderabad - India's brutal weeks-long heatwave has killed more than 2 000 people, authorities say as the government launched a mass education campaign to help people cope with scorching temperatures.

Hundreds of mainly poor people die at the height of summer every year in India, but this year's toll is the second highest in India's history and fifth most in recorded history globally, according to EM-DAT, an international disaster database.

Highest figure

The southern states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, which have so far borne the brunt of the heatwave, accounted for 1 979 deaths. A further 17 people were killed in Orissa, eastern India, while nine people were reported dead elsewhere in the country, taking the death toll to 2 005.

A total of 2 541 people died in 1998 due to extreme temperatures, the highest figure in India's history, according to EM-DAT.

"There is no alarming situation at present. The heat has come down, and we're seeing fewer new patients come in with heat stroke," said JV Subbarao, a top official at Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences.

On Saturday, maximum temperatures across India hovered around 45°C, with forecasters in New Delhi warning that searing temperatures would continue next week across several states.

Maximum temperature

Hundreds of people, mainly from the poorest sections of society, die at the height of summer every year across India, while tens of thousands suffer power cuts from an overburdened electricity grid.

India declares a heatwave when the maximum temperature hits 45°C, or five degrees higher than the average for the area in previous years.

The annual monsoon is forecast to hit the southern state of Kerala this week before sweeping across the country, but it will be weeks before the cooling rains reach India's arid plains.

Read more on:    india  |  natural disasters
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.