At least 25 poll staff among 40 heat-related deaths as north India boils

More than 1,300 people are hospitalised with heatstroke conditions.

Updated - May 31, 2024 09:37 pm IST

Published - May 31, 2024 09:19 pm IST - Mirzapur/Patna

People on election duty, who fell ill due to the scorching heat, being admitted to a hospital, in Mirzapur, on May 31, 2024.

People on election duty, who fell ill due to the scorching heat, being admitted to a hospital, in Mirzapur, on May 31, 2024. | Photo Credit: PTI

India on Friday reported at least 40 suspected heat-related deaths, 25 of them of staff deployed on Lok Sabha poll duty in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, as heatwave conditions gripped a large swathe of the country.

According to officials, heat-related deaths were reported from Odisha (10), Bihar (8), Jharkhand (4) and Uttar Pradesh (1) on Thursday also. Rajasthan has reported at least five heat-related deaths so far.

Also read: Why is north and central India facing a severe heatwave? | Explained

Among the fatalities recorded on Friday, the maximum 17 were from Uttar Pradesh, 14 from Bihar, five from Odisha and four from Jharkhand, where officials said more than 1,300 people are hospitalised with heatstroke conditions.

Water scarcity

The soaring temperatures also caused water scarcity in some parts of the country including in Delhi where the residents faced continued acute shortages, with people in long queues struggling to secure enough to meet their daily needs.

"I stand in line from 4 am, but due to the crowd, I cannot reach the water tanker... It's hard to get water," said Vibha Devi, a resident of Delhi's Geeta Colony.

According to the India Meteorological Department, the Kanpur (IAF) weather station recorded the maximum temperature in the country at 48.2. Haryana's Sirsa was the second hottest place at 47.8 degree Celsius. Delhi's Ayanagar recorded the maximum temperature for the city at 47 degrees Celsius.

Overall, the IMD said heatwave to severe heatwave conditions prevailed over many parts of Rajasthan, Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh; in some parts of Bihar, east Madhya Pradesh; in isolated pockets of Odisha, Jharkhand.

Heatwave conditions also prevailed in some parts of Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Vidarbha, West Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. Heat wave conditions have been prevailing over Haryana, Chandigarh and Delhi.

These conditions are likely to abate during the next two-three days, the India Meteorological Department said the prevailing heatwave.

15 poll personnel die in Mirzapur

Meanwhile, officials in Uttar Pradesh — where 13 seats including in Sonbhadra district and Mirzapur are going to polls on Saturday — said at least 15 election staff died after suspected heatstroke.

Dr. Raj Bahadur Kamal, the principal of Mirzapur's Maa Vindhyavasini Autonomous State Medical College, told PTI 13 poll staff died at the hospital. The deceased include seven home guard jawans, three sanitation workers, one clerk posted at the Chief Medical Officer's office, one chakbandi adhikaari (consolidation officer), and one peon in the home guard team.

Also Read : Heatwave alert: North, central India sizzle under severe heat, nearly 50°C in parts of Delhi

He said they were brought to the facility with high fever and high blood pressure.

In Sonbhadra district, two polling staff died due to heat-related causes while nine personnel are being treated at a hospital, officials said.

Officials in Uttar Pradesh's in Kaushambi said two people, including an elderly woman, died following heat stroke on Thursday, at the district hospital.

10 polling personnel die in Bihar

In neighbouring Bihar — where eight Lok Sabha seats are voting on Saturday — officials said fourteen people, including 10 polling personnel, have died due to heatstroke in the past two days.

Three election officials died in Rohtas, and one each died in Kaimur and Aurangabad districts, it said. Four other people died in different parts of the state, it added.

Due to the heatwave conditions, all schools, coaching institutes and anganwadi centres were shut till June 8.

The Odisha government, meanwhile, Friday confirmed five sunstroke-related deaths so far, while an inquiry into 18 more casualties suspected to be linked to heat-related illness is currently underway.

1,326 admitted to hospital in Jharkhand

Four persons died of sunstroke in Jharkhand on Friday, while 1,326 others were admitted to hospital amid sweltering heat in most parts of the eastern state, officials said.

All district hospitals and other medical facilities have been asked to set aside air-conditioned rooms and empty beds for heatstroke patients, they said.

Also Read : What are heat waves?

"Four persons — three in Palamu and one in Jamshedpur — died of heatstroke in Jharkhand. These deaths did not occur in hospitals. As many as 1,326 people were admitted to hospitals in different districts of the state due to heat-related issues. Out of these, 63 are confirmed cases of heatstroke so far," Dr Alok Trivedi, Mission Director, National Health Mission (Jharkhand), told PTI.

Meanwhile, the IMD said the Southwest Monsoon has advanced into remaining parts of northeast Bay of Bengal and some parts of northwest Bay of Bengal, remaining parts of Tripura, Meghalaya and Assam and most parts of Sub-Himalayan West Bengal and Sikkim.

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