Millions of people suffered from a blistering heat wave sweeping across several Indian states, killing at least 33 people over the weekend with day temperatures soaring up to 47 degrees Celsius, officials and news reports said today.
Twenty-two of them died in Uttar Pradesh state alone, said Avinash Sharma, a state relief department official.
The overall death toll in the country rose to more than 90 since the summer began in late April – 52 in Uttar Pradesh state, 20 in Orissa state, 15 in Madhya Pradesh state and four in Punjab state, according to state officials and news reports.
Most of the victims have been homeless people living on pavements and working in farms and pulling cycle-rickshaws.
The heat wave has been exacerbated by frequent power failures, as India’s notoriously unreliable electricity sector failed to cope with the increased demand to run air conditioners, water coolers and ceiling fans.