Heatwave Tragedy: 50 Lives Lost in Delhi Amid Sweltering Temperatures

50 Lives Lost in Delhi

New Delhi: As the relentless heatwave persists in the national capital, a grim discovery has unfolded. Over the past 48 hours, authorities have recovered the bodies of 50 individuals from various parts of Delhi. These victims, predominantly from deprived socio-economic backgrounds, succumbed to the scorching temperatures. However, while officials acknowledge the fatalities, police and health authorities have yet to confirm whether all deaths were directly linked to the heat.

A senior police officer reported that the lifeless body of a 55-year-old man was found in a children’s park near India Gate on Wednesday. To determine the cause of death, a post-mortem examination will be conducted.

Meanwhile, the ‘Center for Holistic Development,’ an NGO dedicated to assisting the homeless, claims that a staggering 192 destitute individuals perished due to the searing heat between June 11 and 19. The relentless heatwave has not only claimed lives but also strained hospitals. Patients suffering from heat-related illnesses have flooded medical facilities, exacerbating the existing crisis. Delhi, grappling with a severe water shortage, recorded a scorching maximum temperature of 43.6 degrees Celsius—four degrees above the norm. Additionally, the minimum temperature in the city reached 35.2 degrees Celsius, the highest for June since 1969.

At the Ram Manohar Lohia (RML) Hospital, a government-run facility, 22 patients were admitted in the last two days. Tragically, five patients lost their lives, and another 12 to 13 remain on life support. A senior hospital official emphasized that these victims had no other underlying ailments. When individuals arrive at the hospital with elevated body temperatures exceeding 105 degrees Fahrenheit and no other apparent cause, they are diagnosed as heatstroke patients. Those who succumb to heatstroke are classified as suspected cases, pending confirmation by a Delhi government committee.

In response to the escalating heat-related emergencies, the hospital established a groundbreaking ‘heatstroke unit.’ This specialized unit rapidly cools patients using advanced technology. Patients are immersed in ice-filled bathtubs, and their body temperatures are closely monitored. If their condition stabilizes, they are transferred to regular wards; otherwise, they receive ventilator support. Most of the affected patients are laborers, vulnerable to extreme temperatures due to their outdoor work.

Safdarjung Hospital, too, witnessed an influx of heatstroke cases. Among the 60 patients admitted, six tragically lost their lives. Notably, this included a 60-year-old woman and a 50-year-old man who passed away on Tuesday.

50 Lives Lost in Delhi

Lok Nayak Jayaprakash (LNJP) Hospital reported four heatstroke-related deaths in the past two days. Two fatalities were confirmed on Tuesday, followed by two more on Wednesday. A total of 16 heatstroke patients are currently under medical care. One victim, a 39-year-old motor mechanic from Janakpuri, collapsed while working and was brought to the hospital with a high fever. Heatstroke symptoms include fainting due to dehydration and extremely elevated body temperatures, reaching 106 to 107 degrees Fahrenheit.

The outpatient department (OPD) at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital faces a daily influx of 30 to 35 heatstroke cases. Dr. Atul Kakkar, Chairman of the Department of Internal Medicine, highlighted the range of heat-related illnesses seen in the OPD, including muscle cramps and exhaustion. As Delhi grapples with this deadly heatwave, urgent measures are needed to protect vulnerable populations and prevent further loss of life.