Nearly 100 die as India struggles with a sweltering heat wave in 2 most populous states

Relatives attend to a patient lying on a stretcher in the premises of a hospital in Ballia district, in northern Uttar Pradesh state, India, Sunday, June 18, 2023. Swaths of two of India's most populous states are under a grip of sever heat leaving dozens of people dead in several days as authorities issue a warning to residents over 60 and others with ailments to stay indoors during the daytime. (AP Photo)

LUCKNOW, India — At least 96 people died in two of India’s most populous states over the last several days, officials said Sunday, with swaths of the country reeling from a sweltering heat wave.

The deaths happened in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh and eastern Bihar where authorities warned residents over 60 and others suffering various maladies to stay indoors during the daytime.

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All the fatalities in Uttar Pradesh, totaling 54, were reported in Ballia district, some 300 kilometers (200 miles) southeast of Lucknow, the state capital. Authorities found out most of those who passed away were over 60 years old and had preexisting health conditions, which may have been exacerbated by the intense heat.

S. K. Yadav, a medical officer in Ballia, said in the past three days, some 300 patients were admitted to the district hospital for various ailments aggravated by heat.

Due to the gravity of the situation, authorities canceled leave applications of medical personnel in Ballia and provided additional hospital beds in the emergency ward to accommodate the influx of patients.

Officials said most of the admitted patients are aged 60 and above, exhibiting symptoms of high fever, vomiting, diarrhea, breathing difficulties and heart-related issues.

Ballia, along with central and eastern Uttar Pradesh, is currently grappling with oppressive heat.

On Sunday, the district experienced a maximum temperature of 43 degrees Celsius (109 degrees Fahrenheit).

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