Heat Wave in India Kills Hundreds

India is melting through record-breaking heat wave. Hundreds have died throughout the country due to heat stroke, and  dehydration. From The Guardian:

Record temperatures in northern India have claimed hundreds of lives in what is believed to be the hottest summer in the country since records began in the late 1800s.

The death toll is expected to rise with experts forecasting temperatures approaching 50C (122F) in coming weeks. More than 100 people are reported to have died in the state of Gujarat where the mercury topped at 48.5C last week. At least 90 died in Maharashtra, 35 in Rajasthan and 34 in Bihar.

Hospitals in Gujarat have been receiving around 300 people a day suffering from food poisoning and heat stroke, ministers said. Officials admit the figures are only a fraction of the total as most of the casualties are found in remote rural villages.

Humans are not the only creatures affected by the heat. Plants and Animals are impacted:

Wildlife and livestock has also suffered with voluntary organisations in Gujarat reporting the deaths of bats and crows and dozens of peacocks reported dead at a forest reserve in Uttar Pradesh.

“Because of the heat, lakes and other water bodies have been reduced to parched land, making dehydration common in such birds,” said Neeraj Srivastava, a wildlife campaigner.

Heat wave comes when India is recovering from serious drought in 2009:

After a drought last year, India’s farmers are now impatient for the arrival of the monsoon, which irrigates 60% of India’s fields. National meteorologists have forecast “normal” rains for this year, a relief in a country where prices of basic foodstuffs have rocketed in recent months due to growing shortages and structural problems with agriculture.

Forecasters have predicted that the south-west monsoon could arrive over the southern state of Kerala as early as today, but it is unlikely to reach the parched north before the end of June.

The Guardian has more.

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