'Homeless bear the brunt of heatwave'

As the State goes from one heatwave to another, it’s the homeless and destitute who are bearing the brunt with there being hardly any shelters in the city for their safe stay.

Published: 08th May 2022 06:02 AM  |   Last Updated: 09th May 2022 08:14 PM   |  A+A-

Image for Representational Purpose Only. (Photo | EPS)

Express News Service

HYDERABAD:  As the State goes from one heatwave to another, it’s the homeless and destitute who are bearing the brunt with there being hardly any shelters in the city for their safe stay. Satya Harischandra, an organization working on creating a database for unknown and unclaimed dead bodies, has noted that there has been an increase in deaths this summer with several homeless individuals passing away on the streets with typical heat stroke-like symptoms.

From March 2022 to date, they have handled nearly 212 unidentified bodies, of which they say at least 20-30 per cent could have died of heat-related complications.

“The heat claims the lives of homeless individuals every year. This year we have observed at least 20-30 per cent deaths due to heat-related complications. Mostly, the unidentified bodies we find are of persons who die due to old age, road or rail accidents, drowning, crime etc but in the summer months, we come across cases wherein we suspect dehydration due to overexposure to the sun led to the deaths,” explained Bhargavai K, Secretary of Satya Harishchandra Foundation.

When these unidentified dead bodies are found anywhere in the State, they are subjected to a post-mortem examination at the government hospital and then given last rites after the police records the same. In the post-mortem of suspected heatwave victims, they note most often cardiac arrest or respiratory arrest is seen as the cause of death.

“A large number of these victims are found in twin cities near railway stations, bus stands, temples and also near liquor shops where after consumption of cheap liquor they go through extreme dehydration and fall sick. The common age group is between 30-50 years,” added Bhargavi.

Recently, environmentalists Donthi Narasimha Reddy, BV Subba Rao and Purushottam Reddy wrote to Chief Secretary Somesh Kumar to declare the heatwave as a disaster and take corrective measures to save lives and also create a system to count the many unnoticed deaths during heatwaves. In a letter, they said, “Government should issue an advisory to all department personnel and Health Department specifically to start identifying heatwave victims, based on set criteria. Such information when consolidated at the State-level can help in identifying hotspots, taking preventive steps and avoiding future deaths and misery.”

Unknown deaths through the months in 2022: 

Jan - 106, Feb- 74, March - 100, April -85, May - 27

Unknown deaths during the summer of 2021:

March-89, April- 112, May- 96


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  • Dr. Narasimha Reddy Donthi

    Despite visible misery and deaths
    8 months ago reply
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