Fri. Jun 21st, 2024

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The Uttar Pradesh government has said the cause of the deaths is under investigation.

New Delhi:

As a searing heatwave sweeps across Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, the state governments have taken different approaches to acknowledging the deaths caused by suspected heatstroke. At least 70 such deaths have taken place in just one district in Uttar Pradesh and over 50 in a district in Bihar. 

While the Uttar Pradesh government has said the deaths are under investigation and has even sacked a government doctor in Ballia for “giving a careless statement on deaths caused by heatwave”, authorities in Bihar have accepted heatstroke as the cause of death in several cases. 

In Uttar Pradesh’s Ballia, a district bordering Bihar, 54 suspected heatwave deaths took place in just three days from June 16-18. Mohammad Munna, 60, said his wife Rizwana Khatun died at the Ballia District Hospital after exhibiting heatstroke-related symptoms on June 17, but he has only been given a white slip that does not mention the cause of death. He is now having trouble getting his wife’s death certificate. 

“I admitted my wife to the hospital on June 16 and she died at 7 am the next day. The hospital authorities gave me a slip and asked me to collect the death certificate five days later. When I went to the hospital on that date, I was asked to get an affidavit from the court. I did that, and now they have asked me to come on Saturday,” said Mr Munna. 

Sangeeta Devi, 32, is facing a similar situation after the death of her 65-year-old mother due to suspected heatstroke on June 18. She could not save her mother, who was running a fever, despite living just 8 km from the Ballia District Hospital. The woman died an hour after being admitted to the hospital and the family has also been given a slip on a white piece of paper, with the cause of death not mentioned. 

The Chief Medical Officer of Ballia District Hospital, SK Yadav, said, “The cause of death is under investigation. We can mention the cause on death certificates only after it is known.” 

In Deoria district, where local papers have reported at least 50 suspected heatwave deaths in 24 hours, authorities have said not a single heatstroke death has been confirmed. 

In Bihar, however, where at least 50 people have died in Bhojpur district amid the heatwave, authorities have accepted that heatstroke was the cause of death in several cases. Dr Rishi from the Ara Sadar Hospital said, “35 patients were brought in because of heatstroke and about 25 have died today (June 20). Most of the patients who died were elderly and had high-grade fever and heatstroke symptoms.”

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