14 perish to sunstroke in Sundargarh over three weeks

Of 46 suspected heatstroke deaths, 14 were confirmed in the district.
Representative Image
Representative Image

ROURKELA: As the prolonged heat wave continues across Rourkela and rest of Sundargarh district, at least 46 persons have reportedly fallen to suspected heatstroke over the past three weeks.

On Friday, the environment engineering department of Rourkela Steel Plant (RSP) logged the maximum temperature at 41.3 degree Celsius and minimum at 29.9 degree C with atmospheric humidity reading 64 per cent. The automatic weather station of the IMD at Sundargarh district headquarter town, about 100 km from Rourkela, recorded the maximum and minimum temperature at 41.6 degree and 26.3 degree C on the day.

While the scorching heat has crippled daily life, there was no respite as the hot and humid conditions continue to heap miseries even on people who stayed indoors.

The district emergency office (DEO) said it has received allegations of 46 heatstroke deaths from across Sundargarh over the past three weeks. It confirmed that 14 deaths have been confirmed to have been caused by heat-related illness (HRI) after autopsy while eight casualties were attributed to other reasons. Viscera of 18 bodies were sent for further scientific examination after autopsy was inconclusive to ascertain the exact reasons for deaths. Postmortem reports of four deceased were pending and families of two suspected heatstroke victims cremated the bodies without going for autopsy, sources added.

The menacing face of heatwave came to fore on May 30 when in less than seven hours, the Rourkela Government Hospital (RGH) recorded death of 10 persons suffering from HRI. Over the next 48 hours, the death toll from suspected heatstroke rose to 20 with fresh casualties from the RGH along with Hi-Tech Medical College & Hospital (HTMCH) and JP Hospital.

Sources in RGH claimed that a total of four HRI patients died at RGH during treatment, while five and three affected persons perished during treatment at the HTMCH and JP Hospital after being referred from RGH.

After that, sporadic deaths from heatstroke continue to be reported. On Thursday afternoon, a middle-aged daily wager Kalu Charan Naik of Sheetalpada area collapsed at Malgodam area and was pronounced dead at the RGH. The body was sent for autopsy on Friday. Sundargarh ADM RN Sahoo did not respond to phone calls.

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