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Severe heat wave kills dozens in India

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Severe heat wave kills dozens in India kikiotolu

A severe heat wave has reportedly killed dozens of people over a 24-hour period in India’s Bihar state, according to official reports.

Almost half of India – an area home to more than 500 million people – is facing drought-like conditions while a blistering heatwave has killed dozens of people in the impoverished eastern state of Bihar.

As the country suffers its lowest rainfall ahead of a monsoon season in more than six decades, the western state of Maharashtra witnesses its worst drought in 47 years, forcing many to leave their lands and take shelter in relief camps, as they wait for monsoon rains.

Forty-nine people died in three districts of the Magadh region that has been hit by drought, senior health official Vijay Kumar told AFP.

Kumar added: “It was a sudden development on Saturday afternoon. People affected by heatstroke were rushed to different hospitals. Most of them died on Saturday night and some on Sunday morning during treatment.”

Kumar said about 40 more people were being treated at a government-run hospital in Aurangabad.

“Patients affected by heat stroke are still being brought, the death toll is likely to increase if the heatwave continues.”

Most of the victims were aged above 50 and were rushed to hospitals in a semi-conscious state with symptoms of high fever, diarrhoea and vomiting.

Reporting from Beed in Maharashtra, Al Jazeera’s Elizabeth Puranam said people walk in intense heat, sometimes for kilometres, only to find a small amount of muddy water at the bottom of a well.

Asha Pawar said she collects about five pots – or 100 litres – of water a day for herself and her four children. The state government provides water tankers, but Pawar said they only come every four or five days.

Pawar told Al Jazeera: “We have no arrangements for water. We keep getting it from whatever source is available. If nothing is available, we climb down the well for drinking water.”

“My daughter fell in the well when she went to fetch water. A passer-by rescued her when he heard her scream.”

About Ayeni Tolulope

Ayeni Tolulope is a fine-grained Journalist, Writer, Digital Media Strategist. He has been a member of the Fourth Estate for three years. He worked with LailasNews for over a year.