Deadly heatwave in India kills at least 56

Nearly 25,000 cases of suspected heat stroke have been triggered by ongoing heatwave

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Deadly heatwave in India kills at least 56
A polling official drinks water as his shirt is soaked with sweat, at a distribution centre for election materials ahead of the seventh and last phase of India's general election, on a hot summer day in Varanasi, India, May 31, 2024. — Reuters

NEW DELHI: At least 56 people lost their lives to deadly heatwave in India from the month of March to May 2024, local media reported, citing data provided by the government.

According to Reuters, the country has, so far, seen nearly 25,000 cases of suspected heat stroke triggered by the ongoing heatwave.

The month of May proved to be much worse for the region with the temperatures in India's capital city, New Delhi, as well as the nearby state of Rajasthan touched 50 degrees Celsius.

On the contrary, the country's eastern region has been suffering from the impact of cyclone Remal, while heavy rainfall in the north eastern state of Assam has claimed the lives of at least 14 people since last Tuesday.

In the island nation of Sri Lanka, at least 15 people have died due to flooding and landslides after heavy monsoon rain lashed the region, the country's Disaster Management Centre (DMC) said on Sunday.

A confluence of factors has led to a very hot summer in South Asia, a trend scientists say has been worsened by human-driven climate change.

At least 33 people, including election officials on duty in India's just-concluded general election, died of suspected heatstroke in the states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar in the north, and Odisha in the east on Friday.

Data from the National Centre of Disease Control (NCDC)showed that the situation was worst in May, with 46 heat-related deaths and 19,189 suspected heat stroke cases, news website The Print reported.

Including suspected cases, the total number of deaths in India could be much higher at 80, newspaper The Hindu reported.

Over 5,000 cases of heatstroke were detected in the central state of Madhya Pradesh alone.

The weather office has predicted that heat wave conditions will be less severe till Wednesday and an early arrival of monsoon in the southern state of Kerala last week is expected to bring more relief.