Delhi heatwave: 192 homeless people die in a week, says report; check health ministry’s 10-point advisory here

Delhi heatwave: Over 190 homeless people died due to heatwave in Delhi, a report claimed. Here's all you need to know about heatwave-related deaths in Delhi and other parts of India.

Written By Akriti Anand
Updated20 Jun 2024, 10:20 PM IST
A months-long heatwave across swathes of India claimed more than 100 lives and led to over 40,000 suspected cases of heat stroke in the last three-and-a-half months, a Health Ministry official said on Thursday.
A months-long heatwave across swathes of India claimed more than 100 lives and led to over 40,000 suspected cases of heat stroke in the last three-and-a-half months, a Health Ministry official said on Thursday. (AP)

As many as 192 homeless people died in Delhi due to a heatwave between June 11 and June 19, as per data released by a non-profit organisation (NGO), Centre For Holistic Development (CHD), on Wednesday. The report claimed that 80 per cent of the unidentified bodies were of the homeless.

Centre For Holistic Development (CHD)

According to the data, this was the highest number of deaths recorded in the said period since 2019. It said the data was collected from the Zonal Integrated Police Network and the Ministry of Home Affairs.

While sharing the data, the NGO appealed to the government to introduce the Summer Action Plan at the state and district levels. An official from the organisation suggested making city-wise plans in states impacted by heat waves. He also said the situation could be considered as a disaster.

Delhi and other parts of North India have been witnessing severe heatwave conditions for the past few months. The scorching heat has resulted in heat stroke casualties, prompting the Centre to issue an advisory to hospitals to set up special units to cater to such patients.

Police were quoted by news agency PTI on Wednesday that during the past three days, the bodies of 50 people evidently belonging to underprivileged backgrounds were recovered around Delhi.

What do health ministry sources say on heatwave-related deaths?

Meanwhile, sources from the Union health ministry said the heatwave in large parts of the country claimed 114 lives and more than 40,000 suspected heatstroke cases were reported between March 1 and June 19 this year.

"This data isn't a final submission from all the states and numbers are expected to be more than this," sources told PTI.

The maximum number of deaths are reported from Uttar Pradesh (37), Bihar (17), Rajasthan (16), and Odisha (13). This is the data compiled under the National Heat-Related Illness and Death Surveillance by the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), PTI reported.

Health minister issues advisory

Union Health Minister JP Nadda directed the health ministry to issue an advisory for state health departments on 'Heat Wave Season 2024'. As per the details of the advisory shared by PTI, officials are directed to adopt the following measures:

1. To reduce the health impact of extreme heat, health departments must ensure preparedness and timely response.

2. State nodal officers under the National Programme for Climate Change and Human Health (NPCCHH) should start submitting daily data on heatstroke cases and deaths from March 1, besides reporting under Heat-Related Illness and Death Surveillance.

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3. It called for the maintenance of a digital line list of heatstroke cases and deaths (suspected/confirmed) at the health facility/hospital level in given formats and undertakings.

4. Officials have been asked to ensure the dissemination of the National Action Plan on Heat-Related Illnesses (HRI) to all districts and strengthen health systems' preparedness for HRI.

5. The India Meteorological Department (IMD) must disseminate early warning of heatwaves and the forecast for the next four days should be disseminated to health facilities and vulnerable populations.

6. Health facilities must be prepared for the prevention and management of severe HRI, procurement and supply of adequate quantities of ORS packs, essential medicines, IV fluids, ice packs, and equipment to support management of volume depletion and electrolyte imbalance, etc.

7. Ensure the availability of sufficient drinking water at all health facilities and in the waiting and patient treatment areas. All suspected heatstroke cases should be rapidly assessed and actively treated using standard treatment protocols.

8. Officials must coordinate with electricity distribution companies/corporations to ensure an uninterrupted electricity supply to hospitals and the constant functioning of cooling appliances.

9. Adopt measures to reduce indoor heat and energy conservation in health facilities like cool roof/green roof, window shading, rainwater harvesting, solarization etc.

10. Provide shade outside the health facilities in heat-prone regions.

In view of rising death cases in Delhi due to the intense heatwave, Delhi Lieutenant Governor VK Saxena directed the Chief Secretary to hold a meeting with officers concerned from the Social Welfare department, DUSIB and Health, to ensure that adequate measures are in place for providing water and other facilities to destitute, homeless and the poor.

Ashish Kundra, principal secretary to the Lieutenant Governor, cited a news report regarding the deaths of at least 20 people in the last two days due to the intense heatwave in the city.

"Fifty-two people have been reportedly declared dead on arrival (in hospitals) and most of these were destitute homeless people. The actual numbers appear to be much higher. The LG is anguished over such unfortunate incidents in the national capital," read the letter from the LG's office.

A Union health ministry team visited AIIMS and three other Centre-run hospitals – RML, Safdarjung, and Lady Hardinge – in Delhi on Thursday to take stock of the preparedness for heatstroke patients and also to assess the number of deaths due to the illness over the last few days.

When will it rain in Delhi?

Light rains and thunderstorms on Thursday abated the heatwaves in the national capital. "Heatwave conditions abated from Delhi on Thursday under the influence of the current western disturbance and lower level easterlies from the Bay of Bengal," the India Meteorological Department said on June 20.

(With inputs from agencies)

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First Published:20 Jun 2024, 10:20 PM IST
HomeNewsIndiaDelhi heatwave: 192 homeless people die in a week, says report; check health ministry’s 10-point advisory here

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