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Amid Rising Deaths, Centre Sets Up 5-Member Team To Visit States Worst-Hit By Heatwave

Over the past few days, many reports have come to the fore of fatalities allegedly due to scorching heat in different parts of the country including Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Odisha.

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Heatwave in North India
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As deaths due to heat stroke are rising in India, health minister Mansukh Mandaviya on Tuesday set up a five-member team to visit the worst-affected states and look into the heatwave conditions. The team will consist of senior officials from the health ministry and India Meteorological Department (IMD).

Earlier today, health minister Mandaviya chaired a high-level meeting to review public health preparedness to deal with heatwave conditions prevailing in parts of the country.

Niti Aayog member (Health) Dr V K Paul, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) Director General Dr Rajiv Bahl and India Meteorological Department (IMD) experts were part of the meeting.

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Mandaviya said that the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has also been directed to suggest short-term and long-term steps to minimise the adverse effects of heatwave and prevent deaths arising out of the scorching heat.

Over the past few days, many reports have come to the fore of fatalities allegedly due to unbearable temperatures in different parts of the country including Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Odisha.

As many 68 deaths were reported at the Ballia Hospital in Uttar Pradesh. Although initially, the deaths were attributed to the ongoing heatwave in the region, a district health official was removed from the post for the statement and a senior government doctor later refuted the statement. This doctor stated that the deaths prima facie did not appear to have happened due to the heatwave.

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In Bihar, 26 people have died, out of which the state disaster management minister confirmed four due to heatwave. He claimed that 22 other deaths, earlier attributed to heat stroke, have been found to be caused by "other factors", according to PTI.

Bihar is currently in the grip of a scorching heatwave which has broken the record of 11 years. The mercury crossed the 43 degrees Celsius mark or more in several areas on Monday.

In Delhi, officials, as quoted by PTI, said a health and heat action plan to mitigate the impact of extreme heat episodes on vulnerable people in the national capital is ready and will be submitted to the Centre soon. A vulnerability assessment has been conducted to identify at-risk populations, evaluate the adaptive capacity of communities and help develop adaptation strategies, the officials said.

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