Heat Wave Kills in India

Another weather record set, this time not rains and flooding in Tennessee, but temperatures, prostration, death and dried up lakes in India.

Record temperatures in northern India have claimed hundreds of lives in what is believed to be the hottest summer in the country since records began in the late 1800s.

The death toll is expected to rise with experts forecasting temperatures approaching 50C (122F) in coming weeks. More than 100 people are reported to have died in the state of Gujarat where the mercury topped at 48.5C last week. At least 90 died in Maharashtra, 35 in Rajasthan and 34 in Bihar.

Hospitals in Gujarat have been receiving around 300 people a day suffering from food poisoning and heat stroke, ministers said. Officials admit the figures are only a fraction of the total as most of the casualties are found in remote rural villages.

Wildlife and livestock has also suffered with voluntary organisations in Gujarat reporting the deaths of bats and crows and dozens of peacocks reported dead at a forest reserve in Uttar Pradesh.

“Because of the heat, lakes and other water bodies have been reduced to parched land, making dehydration common in such birds,” said Neeraj Srivastava, a wildlife campaigner.

Even India’s northern hill stations – historically a refuge from the heat – have not escaped. Temperatures in Shimla, recorded a peak temperature of 32.4 Celsius, eight degrees hotter than the seasonal average.

Guardian.UK

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