Heat wave kills over 200 in India

Himalayan News Service

New Delhi, June 17:

The summer sun continues to blaze over large parts of India, with at least 130 dying of heatstroke in the eastern region alone, even as the skies have opened up in some southern and northeastern states. Another 50 deaths have been reported from Andhra Pradesh. The mercury hovers over 40 degrees Celsius in Bihar, Orissa and West Bengal, forcing people to largely remain indoors and making the authorities extend the summer vacation in schools.

The heat wave has been accompanied by dust storms in places like Delhi, not to talk of civic problems like water shortage and power outages. Friday, though, brought good news on the monsoon front, with weather officials saying it was progressing normally after having slowed down in the past few days. “The monsoon’s progress is back to normal after some slowdown in the past few days,” RD Singh, director, India Meteorological Department, said. But for those sweating it out, the rain clouds seem like a distant dream.

Orissa has been one of the worst sufferers this summer, with officials admitting to 65 heatstroke deaths so far even as unconfirmed reports put the toll at a whopping 300. The sizzling heat in Bihar has claimed 40 lives. There have been 18 deaths in the in the past two days alone in the West Bengal, with Asansol town in Burdwan district witnessing a searing 50 degrees Celsius. The heat is scorching New Delhi as well, with the weather expected to remain dry till the month end. The weather department has set June 29 as the date for the rains to reach Delhi. “In the next 24 hours, it will have covered northern West Bengal. Conditions are also favourable for the monsoon to hit Maharashtra. Mumbai will receive rains in the next 24-48 hours,” IMD official Singh predicted today.