Heat wave sweeps Orissa, four dead

April 22nd, 2008 - 8:18 pm ICT by admin  

Bhubaneswar, April 22 (IANS) With temperatures touching 44 degrees Celsius, a searing heat wave is sweeping across Orissa forcing people indoors in the afternoon. Health officials Tuesday confirmed the deaths of four people due to sunstroke. Titlagarh town in western Orissa witnessed a maximum 44 degrees Celsius Monday - the highest so far this year, said an official.

The roads in urban and rural areas are deserted between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m., when the sun is particularly hot.

“The heat is unbearable,” Rabindra Samal, a college student in state capital Bhubaneswar said. “We are not able to move out of our homes during the day time.”

The authorities have declared early summer vacation from Tuesday in schools and colleges - eight days ahead of schedule.

The government has also ordered its health centres to remain alert to deal with sunstroke cases by keeping ready adequate stocks of medicines, beds and other equipment.

Other towns which witnessed high temperatures include Sundergarh and Angul town - recording 43.9 and 42.9 degrees respectively, Monday.

The heat wave condition is likely to continue, said a met official.

“The rising temperature is due to the dry hot winds coming in from north-western India,” Sarat Chandra Sahu, director of the Bhubaneswar Meteorological Centre, told IANS.

Speaking of the heat wave-related deaths, N.R.Barik, officer on special duty in the state revenue control room, said. “We have information about the deaths of at least 27 people who could have died due to sunstroke since March. We have asked health officials to submit reports on the deaths.”

But he said health officials had confirmed the deaths of only four people due to the recent intense heat.

The famous Nandankanan Zoo, near here, has constructed 46 new water tanks and made arrangements to sprinkle water over different enclosures, including of tigers, to keep the animals cool, director Ajit Kumar Patnaik said.

A severe heat wave in 1998 killed more than 2,000 people in the state.

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