May 23, 2024

(Bloomberg) — Several parts of India will witness scorching heat in May, raising concerns about health risks for residents as well as power shortages.

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The number of heat wave days are also likely to be higher during the month, Mrutyunjay Mohapatra, director general of the India Meteorological Department, said at an online press conference in New Delhi on Wednesday.

The forecast comes as the world’s largest democracy is in the middle of a six-week long national election. Political parties have been organizing large outdoor meetings, but protection from the blazing sun is not always guaranteed. Scores of people died in eastern India last year, either directly due to heat waves or because their existing medical conditions were exacerbated by the hot summer.

Authorities have asked people to be vigilant about their health and avoid any unnecessary heat exposure. The weather department has asked the government to set up cooling centers and issue regular heat advisories.

As many as eight to 11 heat wave days are likely this month in some areas of of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Gujarat, compared with a normal of three days, according to the weather office.

Maximum temperatures in the range of 44C to 47C are expected to continue over some parts of eastern India until Friday, before abating, it said.

“Efforts are essential for safeguarding public health and minimizing the adverse impacts of heat waves,” Mohapatra said.

–With assistance from Sudhi Ranjan Sen.

(Updates to add details in fifth and sixth paragraphs.)

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