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Heat kills more than 50 people in India

More than 50 people have died in India over the past three days as a brutal heat spell continues to grip parts of the country. Around 33 people died in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh over the weekend due to the heat.
In Odisha (Orissa) state, about 20 people died due to heat stroke, an official told ANI news agency.

Many of these deaths were reported on 1 June as India voted in the last phase of polling for its general election.
The results of the election are set to be announced on 4 June. Every five years, India holds its general election in the summer months of April and May. But this year, the temperatures have been record-breaking, with the country experiencing frequent, more intense and longer heatwaves.

The federal health ministry says that there have been at least 56 confirmed heat strokes deaths from 1 March to 30 May. About 24,849 heatstroke cases were reported during the period. However, state-wise figures suggest the actual number could be much higher. In Uttar Pradesh, several volunteer policeman, polling officials, security guards and sanitation staff were among those who died over the weekend.

Navdeep Rinwa, chief electoral officer of the state, told reporters that the families of deceased election personnel would be given a monetary compensation of 1.5m rupees ($18,000; £14,000). Mr Rinwa also said that a man who was standing in the queue to vote fainted because of the heat. The voter was transported to a health facility, where he was pronounced dead upon arrival,” he said.

In Odisha, district authorities reported 99 suspected heat stroke deaths in the past 72 hours – of these 20 cases have been confirmed, the state’s Special Relief Commissioner said in a statement. Suspected heat-related deaths have also been reported from the states of Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and Jharkhand. India’s National Centre for Disease Control calls heat strokes a “life-threatening” condition with a mortality rate of 40-64%.

The heat in northern and central India and parts of the west has been unrelenting for the past two weeks, with maximum temperatures hovering around 45-46C for days at a stretch and even climbing up to 50C in some areas. However, India’s weather department says that temperatures are likely to fall in the coming days due to the onset on the monsoon.

Several regions are experiencing severe water and electricity shortages due to a rise in power consumption.
Videos from capital Delhi show people jostling for water from water tankers. Many parts of the capital are also experiencing frequent power cuts.

Source: BBC

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