The toll due to sunstroke in the State rose to 32 with eight more casualties reported on Friday from different areas facing the fury of the peak summer sun in the past few days, while Coastal Andhra and Telangana regions reeled under severe heat wave conditions for the third consecutive day.
Temperatures remained one or two degrees above normal level at several places, though slightly less compared to Thursday and the day before.
The State’s highest temperature of 47 degrees Celsius was reported in Bapatla, Rentachintala and Ramagundam. Nizamabad and Vijayawada recorded 46 degrees C; Kavali, Ongole, Nellore, Machilipatnam, Bhadrachalam, Nalgonda 45 degrees C; Adilabad, Medak, Mahabubnagar 44 degrees C; Kakinada, Tirupati, Kadapa 43 degrees C; Anantapur 41 degrees C; and Visakhapatnam Airport, Tuni and Narsapuram 40 degrees C.
Disaster Management Commissioner T. Radha put the toll so far at around 30 based on the reports received from District Collectors, but the figure, it is feared, may be around 40-50 as many casualties are not reported to the administration. The government is insisting on post-mortem reports to confirm a sunstroke death and extend ex-gratia the affected family.
The government cautioned the people against exposure to sun, and issued dos and don’ts to the people. Medak accounted for the largest number of 12 sunstroke deaths. Many of the victims were wage-earners under the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme who were toiling in the afternoon sun.
Occurrence of more fatalities in Medak has been attributed to the district being located in the middle of Deccan Plateau that is formed with hard soil and rocky terrain which radiate during summer. The radiation adds to the summer heat, pushing up the overall temperature in the area unbearable for children, elderly, the infirm and sick.
There were six deaths in West Godavari, four in Adilabad, three each in Nalgonda and Chittoor, two in Karimnagar, and one each in East Godavari and Visakahapatnam.
In Adilabad district, Durgam Kistaiah (50), a job scheme beneficiary and 42-year-old Rapelli Ganesh, wage earner, succumbed to sunstroke.
Going by the warnings issued by India Meteorological Department, the severe heat wave conditions will continue in the State on Saturday, particularly in Nellore, Prakasam, Guntur, Krishna, Adilabad, Nizamabad, Karimnagar, Warangal, Nalgonda, Medak and Hyderabad districts.
Revenue Minister N. Raghuveera Reddy has said that the families of the poor who died of to heat stroke will be given an aid of Rs.50,000 under the ‘Apathbandhu’ scheme.
Mr. Raghuveera Reddy, who was away in Coimbatore reviewed the heat wave conditions in the State with Disaster Management Commissioner T.Radha here on Friday and asked him to direct the Collectors to create public awareness about precautions to be taken against heat stroke.
Of 4,659 cases given financial aid under Apathbandhu during 2012-13, 18 were those of heat stroke victims.