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Intense heatwave in Delhi-NCR kills at least 20; Centre issues advisory to hospitals

The Delhi Disaster Management Authority has issued guidelines for people to save themselves from the rising temperature which can also lead to heat strokes. Apart from that, a new advisory on heatwave, especially for North India is also being prepared by the health ministry.
Last Updated : 19 June 2024, 14:21 IST

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New Delhi: Owing to the intense heatwave in Delhi-NCR, as many as 20 people have lost their lives across three major hospitals of the national capital, with over 12 being on life-support, prompting the Centre to issue directions to the hospitals.

On Wednesday, Union health minister J P Nadda sent an advisory to all the hospitals, directing them to give priority treatment to those who have been admitted due to heatwave.

Later in the day, the health ministry issued an advisory after a meeting was chaired by Nadda, asking officials to maintain a record of heatstroke-related casualties and procure adequate supply of essential medicines, ORS packs, IV fluids and ice packs, etc. The advisory also asked for specific steps to be followed in case of events with mass gatherings. The Centre had issued a similar advisory earlier this year.

The Delhi Disaster Management Authority has also issued guidelines for people to save themselves from the rising temperature which can also lead to heatstrokes. Apart from that, a new advisory on heatwave, especially for North India, is also being prepared by the health ministry.

The Indian Meteorological Department, however, issued an orange alert for and forecasted strong surface winds and thunderstorm and lightning in several areas in the capital region, including most parts of Delhi, Ghaziabad and Noida. In Gurgaon and Faridabad, a yellow alert was issued.

Both the Ram Manohar Lohia (RML) Hospital as well as the Safdarjung Hospital have reported nine deaths each, since the heatwave began at the end of the last month. In RML, seven of the deaths took place in the last two days, while in Safdarjung, five of the deaths took place on Wednesday alone. Additionally, two more deaths have been reported at the Lok Nayak Hospital in the past week due to the heatwave.

To contain the situation, the DDMA in its guidelines, has asked people to avoid stepping out in the sun during noon, at least till 3 pm. Asking people to hydrate as much as possible, the advisory also asks people to carry water with them while travelling. Beverages such as alcohol, tea, coffee and carbonated soft drinks, which dehydrate the body, should be avoided while opting for ORS and homemade beverages like lassi, lemon water and buttermilk, the advisory further recommended.

The DDMA has also asked people to wear light coloured, loose and porous cotton cloths and cover their head and face when stepping out. Additionally, frequent baths in cold water have also been recommended.

The IMD had issued a red alert for North India, but said that as a western disturbance approaches northwest India, the situation could ease by Thursday. The heatwave has been intense this year, with temperatures touching 49 degrees, and on Tuesday, Delhi experienced the warmest night in 12 years with the minimum temperature not going below 35.2 degrees— which is eight degrees above normal.

In Delhi, where the temperatures were touching 44 degrees even at 7am, the source is the dry, warm westerly winds from Rajasthan and southern Haryana. Temperatures continued to be high at night as well, with even tap water remaining hot all day.

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Published 19 June 2024, 14:21 IST

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