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Indian Capital Temps Burn Higher Than 126 Degrees


Record heat seared parts of the Indian capital for a second day Wednesday, reaching a temperature of 52.3 degrees Celsius (126.14 degrees Fahrenheit), while an unprecedented heat wave continued to parch some northwestern regions.

The unusually high summer temperatures have brought “heat wave to severe heat wave” conditions over the last few days, weather officials said, but added they were likely to ease from Thursday over northwest and central India.

Students fainted in the heat at a government school in the eastern state of Bihar, news agency ANI said, with video images showing a girl lying on a classroom bench as teachers sprinkled her face with water and fanned her with a book.

“Electrolyte imbalance is causing fainting, vomiting, and dizziness,” said Rajnikanth Kumar, a doctor at the hospital treating the students.

Asia has sweltered in a hotter summer this year – a trend scientists say has been worsened by human-driven climate change.

India declares a heat wave when the maximum temperature is 4.5 degrees C to 6.4 degrees C higher than usual and a severe heat wave when it is 6.5 degrees C higher than normal or more.

Residents handed out free cold drinks in Delhi’s Narela area on Wednesday, where temperatures had also ranged as high as 49.9 degrees C (122 degrees F) on Tuesday.

Local government authorities have set curbs on water supply, citing a shortage, and imposed a fine of 2,000 rupees ($24) on those wasting water, such as by washing cars.

The federally appointed lieutenant governor called for water to be handed out at construction sites and measures to shade their workers from the heat, while urging paid time-off from noon to 3 p.m., when temperatures peak, media said.

A city court declined to hear a consumer case against a telecom company, citing the lack of an air conditioner or cooler in the court, as well as washrooms with scarce water supply.

“In these circumstances, arguments cannot be heard,” the court’s panel of three said in a May 21 order made public this week.

Three deaths were blamed on heat stroke Tuesday in Jaipur in India’s western desert state of Rajasthan, media said, taking the toll to four in the city and at least 13 in the state.

Rising temperatures prompted India’s election body to make additional arrangements when Delhi voted in general elections last week, such as posting paramedics at polling stations. ($1=83.3221 Indian rupees)

© 2024 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

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