Hospitals Full as Heat Wave Scorches Northern India

Jun 21, 2023

A heat wave in northern India has already killed more than 160 people. The extreme heat has also strained hospitals and caused power failures across the country. It is expected to continue through the end of the week. This has further endangered several of the most densely-populated areas of the world. 

Uttar Pradesh is India’s most populous state. There, temperatures have been around 43.5 degrees Celsius (110 degrees Fahrenheit) since last week. It's also been very humid. Officials in Uttar Pradesh have said at least 119 have died. 47 people also died in the nearby state of Bihar. The hospitals are so full that they've had to turn people away. They even had to ask families to take bodies home. 

“So many people are dying from the heat that we are not getting a minute’s time to rest. On Sunday, I carried 26 dead bodies,” one hearse driver told The Associated Press.

Older people have been hurt the most by the heat. Sadly, doctors can't do much to help. Because everyone is using so much electricity, the power goes out a lot. This means hospitals and homes don't have air conditioning, fans, or running water. The Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh asked people to not use too much electricity.  

“Every village and every city should receive adequate power supply during this scorching heat," he said Friday night in a statement.  

Heavy rains next week are expected to cool things off a little. However, scientists say that if climate change continues to make the planet hotter, we will have more dangerous heat waves.

Photo by Reuters. 

Reflect: What things could a government or community do to manage the effects of a severe heat wave?

The word “strained” is used in the opening paragraph to describe _______. (Common Core RI.5.4; RI.6.4)
a. tension placed on something physically
b. pressure experienced in one's emotions or mental state
c. a relationship that is experiencing difficulties
d. a situation where the available resources are insufficient
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