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Heatwave kills dozens in India’s capital, reports Times of India

By Thomson Reuters Jun 20, 2024 | 12:01 AM

(Reuters) – An unrelenting heatwave sweeping across northern India has killed at least 52 people in New Delhi, the Times of India reported on Thursday, as the country grappled with record temperatures this summer.

At least 52 bodies were brought to hospitals in the past two days, the Times of India said, most of them destitute and poor people who lived and worked in the open.

India has recorded more than 40,000 suspected heatstroke cases this summer and at least 110 confirmed deaths between March 1 and June 18, when northwest and eastern India recorded twice the usual number of heatwave days.

“A prolonged summer should be classified as a natural disaster,” The Hindu newspaper said in an editorial on Thursday, pointing to water shortages and record power demand.

The health ministry ordered federal and state institutions to ensure immediate attention to patients, while hospitals were directed to make more beds available.

The weather office has forecast above normal temperatures for this month as well, and Delhi saw its warmest night in over 50 years on Wednesday, with a minimum temperature of 35.2 degrees Celsius (95 degrees Fahrenheit), data from the weather department showed.

Billions of people across Asia are grappling with extreme heat in a trend scientists say has been worsened by human-driven climate change.

(Reporting by Shilpa Jamkhandikar; Editing by Stephen Coates)