Delhi Heat : 13 deaths in 1 hospitalNGO claims 192 dead since June 11


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New Delhi, Jun 20
An unrelenting heatwave in northwest India has sparked severe health concerns this summer with the temperatures soaring above 40 degrees. Delhi, the National capital, hasn't been spared and the biggest victim of this record heat surge seems to be the homeless.
As many as 192 homeless deaths have been reported in Delhi during June 11-19, according to a report by the Centre for Holistic Development, a non-governmental organization.
An official reaction to this report is awaited.
The police said this morning it had recovered the bodies of 50 persons from underprivileged backgrounds in the last 48 hours. They did not clarify if all of them died due to heat though it comes at a time the city is seeing a spike in heat-related deaths.
The NGO, which works for the homeless, said homeless deaths account for 80% of the total unidentified bodies found in these 48 hours.
"Heatwaves significantly worsen the already difficult circumstances of homeless people, making them particularly vulnerable to heat-related health issues like heat exhaustion, heatstroke, and dehydration due to their lack of access to shelter or cooling facilities," it said.
Hospitals have also been reporting a surge in heat-related cases and deaths over the past two days.
Safdarjung Hospital has reported 13 deaths due to heat-related illnesses in the past 24 hours. The hospital had admitted 33 patients with related symptoms during this period.
Similar data from other hospitals in Delhi is awaited.
As of yesterday, three major Delhi hospitals- RML hospital, Safdarjung hospital, and LNJP Hospital - had reported 20 heat-related deaths.
On Tuesday, the city recorded a minimum temperature of 35.2 degrees Celsius, its warmest night in at least 14 years.
Heatstroke cases being reported in Delhi's Sir Ganga Ram Hospital include conditions like heat cramps and heat exhaustion, according to Dr Atul Kakar, chairperson of Department of Internal Medicine.
The heatwave is also leading to the prevalence of lupus, or systemic lupus erythematosus, which is an autoimmune disease. Six to 10 cases of the condition that affects the skin, joints and kidneys, were detected due to the prolonged heatwave.
Lupus primarily affects women and that too in their child-bearing age between 15 and 45, Dr Lalit Duggal, a senior consultant of rheumatology and clinical immunology at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, told PTI.