The nationwide heatwave toll increased to 2005 continued to sweep across many regions with Palamau in Jharkhand registering the highest temperature at 47°Celsius. Andhra Pradesh and Telangana together accounted for 1979 deaths.
Andhra Pradesh, the worst-hit state, reported 1490 deaths, 156 up since 26 May. Telangana, the second most affected state, saw the toll rising to 489 on 29 May Friday from 440 a day earlier.
In Odisha, the special relief commissioner’s office received reports of 108 deaths allegedly due to sun stroke, but it confirmed only 17 deaths related to heat and said 70 other cases are under investigation. Gujarat has reported seven deaths, while heat in Delhi has claimed two lives. Heatwave conditions have also swept other states, including Delhi, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan. While Palamau was the hottest place, Bhawanipatna in Odisha saw a temperature of 45.5°Ccelsius, Kota in Rajasthan registered 44.6°Celsius followed by 43.9°Celsius in Jaipur. Delhi recorded 42°Celsius, while Punjab and Haryana also saw temperature in the range of 40-44°Celsius at most of the places.
In 2003, a heat wave claimed 3,000 lives in Andhra Pradesh. A similar number died in the same southeastern state in 2010, according to figures supplied by officials.
Climate change has played a large part in making heatwaves severe and frequent. According to National Disaster Management Authority, a report from Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said “higher daily peak temperatures and intense heatwaves are becoming increasingly frequent in South Asia as a result of climate change.”
It is likely the numbers of cold days and nights have decreased and the numbers of warm days and nights have increased; this position is so for most of Asia since 1950, as per records. “Frequency of heatwaves has increased since the middle of the 20th century across Asia.”