Heat spell kills over 100 in West Bengal

A spell of light shower in and around Kolkata on Wednesday evening brought hope of monsoons but the hope deflated in 20 minutes flat with the Regional Met office predicting a 40 degree Celsius high for Thursday again and almost 70 degrees of discomfort index. The death toll in Bengal due to the unrelenting heatwave has crossed 100 and there is no indication that the heat spell would die down soon.

In fact, a worried Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has asked several departments of the state Government to put their heads together on Thursday and find a way out to help the public cope with the rising mercury levels. The Government is anticipating crop damage due to the drought like condition in several districts of Bengal. The State Education department has already announced a 10 day extension to summer vacation in schools. Government and sponsored schools will re-open only on June 18.

The death toll was highest in districts like West Midnapore, Bankura, Burdwan and Purulia Over 40 people died in Asansol in last two days due to 'sun stroke'. A large number of patients were also recuperating in city and district hospitals. In Kolkata, deserted streets and thin traffic at noon indicated that the public preferred to stay indoors between 12 and 3 pm, when the heat wave was at its maximum. The Met Department officials say that a strong northwesterly windflow — heated up during its journey over sweltering Madhya Pradesh and Jharkhand — was responsible for the zooming temperatures. However, North Bengal was likely to get its first monsoon showers soon enough.

So what should the public do to avoid falling sick? People would do well to stay indoors between 10 am to 4 pm to avoid a heatstroke, the medical fraternity advised. But to prevent a heatstroke, doctors prescribed drinking glucose water or ORS and lots of fluids.
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