Six die in Assam as mercury soars to highest in 33 years

Guwahati, June 12 (IANS) Sweltering heat has claimed at least six lives in different locations of the state in the last 24 hours, and the Regional Meteorological Centre (RMC) at Borjhar has forecast no change in weather conditions in the next 48 hours.

According to the RMC, Assam’s maximum temperature of 38.5 degrees Celsius Wednesday, the highest in the last 33 years, was recorded in Guwahati.

In June 1979, the state’s major city had recorded a maximum temperature of 38.4 degrees Celsius.

While two people died in Guwahati Tuesday due to extreme heat, four other people have reportedly died in different locations of the state Wednesday. Officials said two people died in Barak Valley, and one each in Guwahati and in Nagaon district, Wednesday.

The man who died in Barak Valley was identified as S. Robidas, 70. He died while on the way to hospital at Hailakandi in Barak Valley.

Pranabananda Das, 22, died at Katigora in Cachar district of an illness brought on by exposure to heat.

Majibur Rahman, 50, died in Nagaon district, officials said, adding that all these deaths appeared to have been caused by the heat wave.

Authorities in Guwahati recovered one body near the Ulubari flyover in the city. It was suspected that the man may have died because of sun stroke. The body is yet to be identified.

On Tuesday, Sanjib Sinha, 50, died in a city hospital due to extreme heat and humidity; another unidentified person was believed to have died of heat stroke near Khanapara Veterinary College in Guwahati.

The mercury level in Guwahati and other parts of the state has seen unprecedented rise this year, officials said, adding that the extreme hot weather has forced the Kamrup (Metro) district administration to issue an order that all private and government schools in the district stay shut on June 13 and June 14.

The order, issued by the Kamrup (Metro) district deputy commissioner, said that the decision to close the schools was taken due to the ongoing heat wave across the state, and keeping in mind problems school children face in such inclement weather.

“The monsoon arrived in Assam on June 7 and there were good amount of rains in the state. But after two days, there was some development of cyclonic winds in the northwest Bay of Bengal, which diverted the monsoon winds, leading to the present increase in mercury levels,” Deputy Director General of the regional meteorological centre M.K. Gupta said.

“This is unprecedented and alarming. Normally, Assam witnesses a maximum temperature of 32 degrees Celsius during the month of June. However, today (Wednesday) the maximum temperature recorded was 38.6 degrees Celsius, which is even higher than June 1979, when it recorded a maximum temperature of 38.4 degrees Celsius,” Gupta said.

Gupta said that there is no likelihood of any respite for the people in next 48 hours.

“As per our calculations and records, almost similar weather will prevail in Assam in the next 48 hours with one or two degree increase or decrease in temperature,” he said.

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