Orissa is reeling under a severe heat wave with heatstroke already claiming 22 lives in the last two weeks. The mercury has already soared to 45 degree Celsius in towns of Talcher and Angul. Bhubaneswar also recorded 39.4 degree Celsius on Sunday, a departure from the normal.
The extreme hot and humid conditions are likely to persist for a few days more. S.C. Sahu, director of Regional Meteorological Centre here told the Hindustan Times, “The temperature has increased rapidly due to a combination of factors. The northwesterly dry hot wind is blowing from northwestern parts of the country to the Orissa coast. Also, the sea breeze is not strong enough to penetrate into the land.”
According to Sahu, such extreme weather conditions are experienced at periodic intervals. “In 2006, the temperature had also increased rapidly from the first week of April. Global climatic changes may be responsible, but it is not the only factor. Local climatic factors play a more critical role than the global changes,” Sahu added.
Though the government has received reports about the deaths due to sunstroke, officials are still verifying reports by seeking reports from district collectors and medical officers. Snehalata Bhuyan, deputy secretary in the revenue and disaster management department told the Hindustan Times, “The department has asked the district collectors to confirm whether the deaths have really taken place due to sunstroke or other heat-related causes.”
Schools have been issued directives to wrap up classes by 10.30 am and labourers have been barred from doing any physical work under the sun from 12 noon to 3 pm.
Oral Rehydrated Salt (ORS) packets have been distributed to all health centres and hospitals. The rural development secretary has written to collectors asking to take steps to reduce drinking water scarcity. The letter says, “An additional amount of Rs 6 crore has been sanctioned out of Calamity Relief Fund for drinking water supply,”