"Heat kills 1,359 in India", Agence France Presse. June 3, 1998
NEW DELHI (June 2, 1998) - The death toll from a blistering heat wave sweeping India for more than two weeks has shot up to 1,359, the Press Trust of India reported Tuesday.
The worst-hit area is the eastern Indian state of Orissa, where at least 649 people have died, the news agency said. Reports of deaths continue to pour in from across the country although the mercury has eased slightly and some parts of India have received scattered rains, PTI said.
(Officials subsequently revised their estimate to 4,000 heat wave-related deaths.)
The scorching heat wave began on May 12 and soon gripped almost the whole country, with temperatures in some parts of the north shooting up to nearly 123 degrees Fahrenheit.
The heat wave has broken records standing for more than 50 years.
Many people, mainly the poor, have collapsed dead on streets due to sun- stroke, vomiting blood. Hundreds of people, including many children, have been hospitalized with high fever across India. PTI said the southern state of Andhra Pradesh accounted for 363 deaths, while 225 people died in the northern states of Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh.
Deaths were also reported in the eastern states of Bihar and West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh in the central region, Maharashtra and Gujarat on the west coast, Punjab in the north, and in the cities of Chandigarh and New Delhi.
Monsoon rains, however, started in India's southern tip on Monday and are expected to hit New Delhi by the end of this month.
The blistering heat has been accompanied by serious a water and power shortage in New Delhi, where hundreds of angry residents took to the streets and clashed with the police.
"Close to 1000 die from heatwave in India"
TThe PRESS TRUST in India on Monday put the death toll at nearly 1,000 after weeks that have seen temps hit total heat. The town of Dholpur in Rajasthan was the hottest place in India Sunday with 118.4 degrees F. Most people in Orissa ignored their most popular religious festival -- Sital Sashthi - to count their dead on Sunday, the agency reported.
It was 111-degrees in New Delhi on Sunday.
The heatwave has broken multiple records -- some dating back more than 75years.
"Roads and pavements have been turned into frying pans," declared wire reporter Julian West from New Delhi. "An accident victim who lay unconscious on the road for more than an hour was rushed to hospital with severe burns from the scalding asphalt... the sun burnt like a blow-torch, Delhi's residents tried to keep cool - and sane - by downing vast quantities of jeera pani, a spicy liquid sold by street-vendors... In the capital, many residents have been without power for more than two weeks. In one part of the city a furious mob attacked the local office of the ruling Bharata Janata party, smashing chairs and windows, in protest over a 15-day power cut."
And in what could be seen as a message from the gods, in Rajasthan, the scorching desert state where India conducted its nuclear tests, 48 people are believed to have died as temperatures reached 125F in past days, the hottest in the country.