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Pattaya Daily News

06 June 2010 :: 18:06:15 pm 24037

Soaring Temperatures Kill Hundreds in India

Last week, as temperatures soared in the northern India city Allahabad, above 113 degrees Fahrenheit, the record temperature, believed to be the hottest since recordings began in the late 1800s has claimed hundreds of lives.
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Experts have forecasted that temperatures will continue rising in the next few weeks reaching 122 Fahrenheit (50C) with an expected rise in the death toll.  Temperatures topped 48.5C in Gujarat killing well over 100 people, while in Maharashtra 90 deaths were reported, with 35 in Rajasthan and 34 in Bihar.

Around 300 people a day have been admitted to hospital suffering from food poisoning and heat stroke with Officials saying the figures are no where near the real total as most of the casualties were from remote villages.

Voluntary organisations in Gujarat reported deaths of wildlife and livestock which included dozens of peacocks, bats and crows at a forest reserve in Uttar Pradesh.  Lakes and other areas have been reduced to parched land, causing dehydration in birds and other living creatures.

Shimla, one of India’s northern hill station used as a refuge from the heat did not escape the soaring temperatures with a recorded temperature of 32.4 C, eight degrees higher than previous hot seasons.

After last years drought, farmers are now impatient for the monsoon which will irrigate 60% of India’s fields though normal rainfall has been predicted for this year bringing only small relief to a country where basic food prices have drastically risen due to the growing shortages in agriculture.

The south west monsoon had been predicted to start last week in the state of Kerala, but was thought unlikely to reach the north before the end of June causing concern for farmers and small businesses.

For weeks, temperatures of around 45C plagued the capital with only dust storms and a scattering of rain bringing little relief over the weekend. Passengers abandoned the cheaper versions of transport such as buses, taxis, and rickshaws in place of the new air conditioned metro.

There were electricity blackouts in and around the suburbs with water shortages adding to the suffering of the people. Residents from a nearby up market village Mehrauli were forced to buy water from private suppliers that were selling door to door from tankers.  An apartment block in the new town of Gurgaon has run dry while in the city of Nagpur, Maharashtra. Petrol pumps ran out of fuel after railway wagons which normally carry fuel were switched to transporting water.

According to the Meteorological Department, the record heat wave has been attributed to the lack of atmospheric humidity and the effects of last years El Nino cycle with March and April holding the highest temperature in more than 100 years.

Reporter : PDN staff   Photo : Internet   Category : World News

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