Academic journal article Perspectives in Public Health

Indian Heat Wave 2015: One of the Deadliest in History

Academic journal article Perspectives in Public Health

Indian Heat Wave 2015: One of the Deadliest in History

Article excerpt

In June 2015, the heat wave death toll surpassed 2,330 in India after a weeklong of scorching high temperatures.1 A total of 1,719 deaths were reported from the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh alone where daytime temperatures had soared up to 47°C.1 The neighbouring state Telangana reported 585 deaths and had the second highest number of causalities.1 Fewer numbers of fatalities had been reported from the eastern states of Orissa and West Bengal.

Over 20,000 people have lost their lives as a result of heat waves in India since 1990. The highest numbers of casualties were seen in the year 1998 when the death toll reached up to 2,541. A total of 1,247 and 1,216 people lost their lives due to heat waves and dehydration in the years 2012 and 2013, respectively. But the current death toll mark of 2,330 is unparallel in Indian history as the heat wave in 2015 has taken many more lives in a much shorter time period.

Hospitals have been struggling to cope up with the large influx of patients. Frequent power cuts, due to an increased demand of electricity in summer months, have also hindered the proper functioning of hospitals. In addition, hospitals do not have enough beds to accommodate all the patients, hence some patients have no other choice but to sleep on floors.

In order to tackle the issue, the government has installed new drinking water coolers at bus and train stations. …

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