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North India swelters as temp rises to 50c

Climate red alert

North India swelters as temp rises to 50c

Churu, Rajasthan, June 11: Temperatures passed 50 degrees Celsius in northern India as an unrelenting heat wave triggered warnings of water shortages and heatstroke. The thermometer hit 50.6 degrees Celsius in the Rajasthan desert city of Churu over the weekend, the weather department said. All of Rajasthan suffered in severe heat with several cities hitting maximum temperatures above 47 Celsius. Indian people rest under a tree during a hot summer afternoon in Allahabad on June 2, 2019. - Temperatures passed 50 degrees Celsius in northern India as an unrelenting heat wave triggered warnings of water shortages and heatstroke. Picture: Sanjay Kanojia/AFP Indian people rest under a tree during a hot summer afternoon in Allahabad on June 2, 2019. - Temperatures passed 50 degrees Celsius in northern India as an unrelenting heatwave triggered warnings of water shortages and heatstroke. Picture: Sanjay Kanojia/AFPSource:AFP In May 2016, Phalodi in Rajasthan recorded India's highest-ever temperature of 51 Celsius. The Indian Meteorological Department said severe heat could stay for up to a week across Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh states. Several deaths from heatstroke have already been recorded. About 200 million people live in northern India. A red alert severe heat warning has been issued in the capital New Delhi as temperatures passed 46 Celsius, and residents were advised not to go out during the hottest hours of the day. Even in the hill state of Himachal Pradesh, where many wealthy Indians go to escape the summer heat, temperatures reached 44.9 Celsius in Una. Several major cities, led by Chennai, have reported fears of water shortages as lakes and rivers start to dry up. In the western state of Maharashtra, farmers struggled to find water for thirsty animals and crops. "We have to source water tankers from nearby villages as water reserves, lakes and rivers have dried up," said Rajesh Chandrakant, a resident of Beed, one of the worst-hit districts. "Farmers only get water every three days for their livestock." Raghunath Tonde, a farmer with a family of seven, said the area has suffered worsening shortages for five years. "There is no drinking water available for days on end and we get one tanker every three days for the entire village," Tonde told AFP. "We are scared for our lives and livelihood," he added. The Hindustan Times newspaper said many Beed residents had stopped washing and cleaning clothes due to the water shortage. More than 40 per cent of India faces drought this year, experts from Gandhinagar city's Indian Institute of Technology, warned last month. The annual monsoon - which normally brings much needed rain to South Asia - is running a week behind schedule and is only expected to hit India's southern tip on June 6, the weather department said. And private forecaster Skymet has said there will be less rain than average this year. The Indian peninsula has seen a drastic change in rainfall patterns over the past decade, marked by frequent droughts, floods and sudden storms. PTI adds: With heatwave conditions prevailing in North India, four passengers on the Kerala Express have reportedly died in Jhansi due to extreme heat while one passenger has been hospitalised in a critical condition. According to reports, the passengers travelling on the Kerala Express train on Monday evening complained of uneasiness and by the time the train reached Jhansi, they had expired, according to an IANS report. The dead bodies were taken off at Jhansi railway station and sent for post mortem. All the passengers were travelling from Agra to Coimbatore and were seated in S-8 and S-9 coaches. Divisional Railway Manager Neeraj Ambisht said that the bodies would be sent to Coimbatore on Tuesday after post mortem. The deceased were a part of a 68-member group that was returning after visiting Varanasi and Agra. "Shortly after we left Agra, the heat became unbearable and some people started complaining of breathing problems and uneasiness. Before we could get some help, they collapsed," said a member of the group. The deceased have been identified as Bundur Palanisame, 80, Bal Krishna Ramaswami, 69, Chinnare, 71, and Dhiva Nai, 71. Subbaraiyya, 71, has been hospitalised in Jhansi. The central and western parts of the country are likely to continue experiencing heatwave conditions till June 15, according to the weather department. As per India Meteorological Department (IMD), heatwave is likely to prevail over Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, north Chhattisgarh and south Uttar Pradesh. The mercury has touched 48 degrees Celsius in various of the parts of the country this summer. The IMD had earlier this month issued the highest "red" alert for some parts of northern India including the national capital. Besides Delhi, the alert was issued for Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh, Rajasthan and some parts of Uttar Pradesh.

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