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19 Jun, 2019 15:31

Indian heatwave kills 92 as temperatures soar to 50C

Indian heatwave kills 92 as temperatures soar to 50C

At least 92 people have died in India’s Bihar as the state remains in the midst of a punishing heatwave that’s affecting much of the country, bringing with it droughts and hundreds of cases of heatstroke.

The country is experiencing its lowest rainfall before monsoon season in over six decades and is in its third week of a heatwave, set to become one of the longest on record.

The majority of the recorded deaths in Bihar since June 15 have occurred in Aurangabad, Gaya, and Nawada, where temperatures have been around 45 degrees Celsius. At least 562 patients have been admitted to government hospitals with heatstroke, and officials fear the death toll will continue to rise.

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Indeed, the true toll may never be fully known as some heat-related deaths could not be officially confirmed “as the families took the deceased’s body before post-mortem,” an official of the state emergency operation center told the Hindustan Times.

On Saturday, 49 people died in Bihar within 24 hours. Bihar’s Chief Minister Nitish Kumar announced that the families of those who have died will receive compensation of four lakh ($5,740).

People have been told to stay indoors, and schools and colleges are staying closed until Wednesday. Markets have been ordered to close between 11am and 5pm. Gaya and Darbhanga have invoked Section 144, which bans all public activities during the day.

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The heatwave is affecting almost two thirds of the country, with the western state of Rajasthan seeing temperatures of 50 degrees Celsius. The western state of Maharashtra is suffering from its worst drought in 47 years.

Tens of thousands of people in drought-stricken villages have left their homes in search of water.

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