11 people die of sunstroke near Mumbai after open-air award function

Published April 17, 2023
The crowd at the ‘Maharashtra Bhushan Award’ ceremony in Navi Mumbai on April 16, 2023. — Photo by ANI
The crowd at the ‘Maharashtra Bhushan Award’ ceremony in Navi Mumbai on April 16, 2023. — Photo by ANI

At least eleven people died on Sunday after suffering from sunstroke at an event attended by India’s home minister on the outskirts of Mumbai, the chief minister of Maharashtra state said.

Hundreds of thousands of people attended an award function on Sunday afternoon where federal home minister Amit Shah presented an award to a well-known social activist, on the outskirts of the country’s financial capital of Mumbai in Maharashtra.

The event was held outdoors in the afternoon in Khargar, where the maximum temperature recorded was 38 degrees Celsius (100.4°F), normal for this time of the year.

Around 50 people were admitted to hospital after the event and 11 had died, Maharashtra’s chief minister, Eknath Shinde, told reporters late on Sunday night.

Earlier, the weather office had said that India is likely to experience heat waves between March and May in 2023.

“Enhanced probability of occurrence of a heat wave during March to May season is likely over many regions of Central and adjoining Northwest India,” the India Meteorological Department (IMD) had said.

Last year, government officials had warned that India could see more frequent heat waves in future and that average temperatures, even during the monsoon season, have been rising over the last two decades.

In a letter sent to all states and union territories in Feb, India’s health ministry had said that temperatures in the country had already touched unusual highs in some places.

The government had also directed health departments across the country to implement “heat-related health action plans”.

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