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Unrelenting Heat Wave Triggers Warnings of Water Shortages and Heatstroke in India

The Indian peninsula has seen a drastic change in rainfall patterns over the past decade, marked by frequent droughts, floods and sudden storms

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An Indian boy pours water on himself as he tries to cool himself off amid rising temperatures in New Delhi, May 29, 2019. Temperatures pushed toward 50 degrees Celsius across much of India on June 1. VOA

Temperatures passed 50 degrees Celsius (122 Fahrenheit) in northern India on Saturday as an unrelenting heatwave triggered warnings of water shortages and heatstroke.

The thermometer hit 50.6 degrees Celsius (123 Fahrenheit) in the Rajasthan desert city of Churu, the weather department said.

All of Rajasthan suffered in severe heat, with several cities hitting maximum temperatures above 47 Celsius.

In May 2016, Phalodi in Rajasthan recorded India’s highest-ever temperature of 51 Celsius (123.8 Fahrenheit).

The Indian Meteorological Department said severe heat could stay for up to a week across Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh states.

Several deaths from heatstroke have already been recorded.

heat wave, india temperatures
Indian residents queue with plastic containers to get drinking water from a tanker in the outskirts of Chennai, May 29, 2019. An unrelenting heat wave triggered warnings of water shortages and heatstroke in India on June 1. VOA

A red alert severe heat warning was issued in New Delhi as temperatures passed 46 Celsius, and residents were advised not to go out during the hottest hours of the day.

Even in the hill state of Himachal Pradesh, where many wealthy Indians go to escape the summer heat, temperatures reached 44.9 Celsius in Una.

Several major cities, led by Chennai, have reported fears of water shortages as lakes and rivers start to dry up.

Farmers worry

In the western state of Maharashtra, farmers struggled to find water for thirsty animals and crops.

“We have to source water tankers from nearby villages as water reserves, lakes and rivers have dried up,” said Rajesh Chandrakant, a resident of Beed, one of the worst-hit districts. “Farmers only get water every three days for their livestock.”

Raghunath Tonde, a farmer with a family of seven, said the area has suffered worsening shortages for five years.

heat wave, india temperatures
Indian youths cool off in the Ana Sagar lake during a hot day in Ajmer, in Rjasthan state, May 31, 2019. India has been battling a fierce heat wave that has prompted warnings about water shortages and heatstroke. VOA

“There is no drinking water available for days on end, and we get one tanker every three days for the entire village,” Tonde told AFP. “We are scared for our lives and livelihood.”

The Hindustan Times said many Beed residents had stopped washing and cleaning clothes because of the water shortage.

More than 40 percent of India faces drought this year, experts from Gandhinagar city’s Indian Institute of Technology warned last month.

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The annual monsoon — which normally brings much-needed rain to South Asia — is running a week behind schedule and is expected to hit India’s southern tip on June 6, the weather department said.

Private forecaster Skymet has said there will be less rain than average this year. The Indian peninsula has seen a drastic change in rainfall patterns over the past decade, marked by frequent droughts, floods and sudden storms. (VOA)

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No respite from heat wave, toll crosses 2,200 In Andhra Pradesh and Telangana

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Hyderabad: There was no respite from intense heat wave in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana on Sunday as 45 more deaths were reported from the two Telugu states, taking the toll to over 2,200.

While 25 people died in Andhra Pradesh, 20 succumbed to sunstroke in Telangana.

The officials till Saturday night had confirmed 2,177 deaths in the two states. While Andhra Pradesh accounted for 1,636 deaths, 541 died in Telangana during last two weeks.

Hyderabad Meteorological Centre has warned that the heat may continue for two to three days in both the states.

The Met officials attributed the continuing high temperatures to the delay in arrival of monsoon.

The monsoon was expected to arrive in Kerala on May 30 but the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) has now said that there could be delay of four to five days.

All 10 districts of Telangana and four districts of south coastal Andhra Pradesh are recording high temperatures.

Hanamkonda in Telangana was the hottest place on Sunday with maximum temperature of 47 degrees Celsius. It was 45 degrees in Nalgonda, Ramagundam and Khammam while Hyderabad recorded 41 degrees.

Isolated rains over last two days have not brought down the temperatures, which remained above 40 degrees across Telangana.

Jangamaheshwarapuram in Guntur district of Andhra Pradesh sizzled at 47 degrees Celsius. Other places in south coastal Andhra recorded maximum temperature between 41 and 44 degrees. (IANS)