Stay Cool India! – India battles deadliest heatwave in two decades

keepingcool

That’s how you do it…

Almost 2,000 people have died from a heatwave now hitting parts of India.

Experts say the official figures likely understate the true impact because heatstroke disproportionately affects the poor and homeless, who are less likely to die in hospitals.

Most of the confirmed deaths are in the southern states of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, where doctors described hospitals overflowing with victims of severe heatstroke.

P Tulsi Rani, special commissioner for disaster management in the state, said the high number of deaths was down to record high temperatures over a longer period that usual.

“So many people died this year because the heat wave is continuing for a longer period than it normally does, and also record temperatures have been recorded in a number of places.”

Authorities in Telangana said they were running a television campaign to teach people how to stay cool and recognise the symptoms of heat stroke, which can be fatal if left untreated.

Streets of the state capital Hyderabad were deserted during the hottest period of the day, with many shops and businesses shut.

Authorities in Delhi, where top temperatures have hit 45°C, ordered hospitals to treat heat stroke victims as emergency cases.

Authorities in eastern Orissa state said they had 12 confirmed deaths from heatstroke and were investigating the causes of another 80.

The monsoon is forecast to hit the southern state of Kerala on May 30 before sweeping across the country, but it will be weeks before the cooling rains reach India’s arid plains.

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