Despite occasional thundershowers and light rain, Delhi took no time to slip under the grip of heatwave last week. The mercury continued to rise beyond 40 degree mark due to which almost 100 people have lost their lives.
The intense heat is believed to have claimed at least 340 lives in Delhi since April 2016, out of which 102 were reported in May itself. The report released by Centre for Holistic Development (CHD), Delhi states that inclement weather along with inadequate shelter options for the homeless in the national capital city turned out to be deadly this year.
“More than 20 deaths have been reported in Kashmere Gate area in fourteen days of May. Bodies of victims were found in different spots of Delhi, with primary investigations suggesting that extreme hot weather lead to the deaths,” explained Sunil Kumar Aledia, executive director, CHD, Delhi.
While the beginning of May saw five straight days when Delhi witnessed maximum temperature settling above 40°C with mercury touching 46°C on May 3, the midweek was no better with maximum temperature settling near 44°C in last 4 consecutive days.
Death toll has risen in past few days of the people jostling for space in packed shelter for homeless to escape the severe heat. Several of them also escaped these shelters due to insufficient facilities. “Besides harsh climatic conditions, these shelters do not have material for proper hydration, no ceiling fans or material for proper hydration, no ceiling fans or coolers, said Sarawati, residing in the shelter. Some of the occupants stated that these tin boxes turn into hot torture chambers under the blazing sun.
Though there are chances of partly cloudy weather this week, temperature is not expected to witness a sharp drop. The mercury is expected to rise, leading to discomforting weather.
Last year, the average number of deaths per month among the homeless was 250 but the count in June was 485 and in July, 364. In 2013, too, the deaths in June and July were 288 and 278, respectively, as opposed to a monthly average of 200.
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