India’s capital swelters in record heat

Record heat reaching 52.3C has seared New Delhi for a second day as an unprecedented heatwave continued to parch other regions.

Photo: Hindustan Times/Sipa USA

Photo: Hindustan Times/Sipa USA

India declares a heat wave when the maximum temperature is 4.5C to 6.4C higher than usual and a severe heat wave when it is 6.5C higher than normal or more.

Residents handed out free cold drinks in Delhi’s Narela area on Wednesday, where temperatures had also ranged as high as 49.9C on Tuesday.

Local government authorities have set curbs on water supply, citing a shortage, and imposed fines on those wasting water, such as by washing cars.

The federally appointed lieutenant governor called for water to be handed out at construction sites and measures to shade their workers from the heat, while urging paid time off from noon to 3pm, when temperatures peaked.

The unusually high summer temperatures have brought “heatwave to severe heatwave” conditions in the past few days, weather officials said, but added they were likely to ease from Thursday over northwest and central India.

Students fainted in the heat at a government school in the eastern state of Bihar on Wednesday, with video images showing a girl lying on a classroom bench as teachers sprinkled her face with water and fanned her with a book.

“Electrolyte imbalance is causing fainting, vomiting, and dizziness,” said Rajnikanth Kumar, a doctor at the hospital treating the students.

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Asia has sweltered in a hotter summer – a trend scientists say has been worsened by human-driven climate change.

Three deaths were blamed on heat stroke on Tuesday in Jaipur in India’s western desert state of Rajasthan, media said, taking the toll to four in the city and at least 13 in the state.

Rising temperatures prompted India’s election body to make additional arrangements when Delhi voted in general elections last week, such as posting paramedics at polling stations.


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