Election officials among 33 killed in India’s heatwave

BHUBANESWAR – At least 33 people, including election officials on duty, died of suspected heatstroke in India’s states of Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Odisha on Friday, and the heatwave in the region is expected to continue until Saturday, authorities said.

India has been experiencing a blisteringly hot summer and a part of capital Delhi recorded the country’s highest ever temperature at 52.9 degrees Celsius (127.22°F) this week, though that may be revised with the weather department checking the sensors of the weather station that registered the reading.

While temperatures in northwestern and central India are expected to fall in the coming days, the prevailing heatwave over east India is likely to continue for two days, said the India Meteorological Department (IMD), which declares a heatwave when the temperature is 4.5 C to 6.4 C higher than normal.

Fourteen people died in Bihar on Thursday, officials said, including ten people involved in organising the seven-phase national elections that are currently underway. Many election officials are usually required to stand on duty all day, many times outdoors.

Parts of Bihar are voting in the final round of polling on Saturday.

In India’s most populous state of Uttar Pradesh, at least nine election personnel, including security persons, died on Friday, government officials said.

“They had high grade fever when they were brought in. It could be because of heatstroke as well. We are currently treating at least 23 people brought in from election duty,” R B Kamal, principal of the medical college where the personnel are being treated, told reporters. (Reuters)

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