Maharashtra, India’s western state, has recorded 25 deaths from heatstroke since late March, the highest death toll in the past five years and a possible scenario elsewhere in the country.
Scientists said more than a billion people in India and neighboring Pakistan were vulnerable to the extreme heat.
According to health officials, many of the deaths in Maharashtra occurred in the more rural areas of India’s richest state.
“These are suspected heatstroke deaths,” Pradeep Awate, a Maharashtra health official said.
The Indian Meteorological Department has recorded its warmest March in over a century, with the maximum temperature across the country rising to 33.1 degrees Celsius, nearly 1.86 degrees above normal.
Last month, the temperature surged past 40C in many parts of India’s north, west, and east.
Meanwhile, a 64-year-old man died of heatstroke on April 25, and hundreds of others were given medical treatment in the eastern state of Odisha, authorities said.
In Subarnapur, Odisha’s hottest district, a high of 43.2C was recorded on Tuesday.
“It is so hot. Fan, air cooler – nothing is working,” Subarnapur resident Mohana Mahakur said.
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