In a tragic incident, on Sunday, at an event on the outskirts of Mumbai attended by India’s home minister, at least eleven individuals lost their lives due to sunstroke, as confirmed by the chief minister of Maharashtra state.
The event, which took place in Khargar, was an award function that saw hundreds of thousands of people in attendance. The federal home minister, Amit Shah, was present to present an award to a renowned social activist. The event was held outdoors in the afternoon, with temperatures soaring up to 38 degrees Celsius (100.4°F), which is considered normal for this time of the year, but caused sunstroke to the people present there.
Following the event, around 50 people were rushed to the hospital, and unfortunately, 11 of them succumbed to the effects of sunstroke, as stated by Maharashtra’s chief minister, Eknath Shinde, in a press statement late Sunday night. The incident has left the community in deep shock and grief.
According to the India Meteorological Department (IMD), earlier predictions indicated that India may encounter heat waves during the period of March to May in 2023. The IMD had stated that there is an increased likelihood of heat waves occurring in several regions of Central and adjoining Northwest India.
In the past, government officials had already issued warnings that India could experience more frequent heat waves in the future, and that average temperatures have been steadily rising, even during the monsoon season, over the last two decades.
In February, India’s health ministry had sent a letter to all states and union territories, informing them that certain places in the country had already experienced unusually high temperatures. The government had also directed health departments nationwide to implement “heat-related health action plans” to address the potential risks associated with heat waves.