Heatwave Deaths in Odisha: Rising Temperatures Cause Alarming Fatalities


-Subhalaxmi Dash

Bhubaneswar: This year’s heatwave has wreaked havoc across the country, and Odisha is no exception. While the coastal regions of Odisha remain relatively stable, the western parts are scorching under the intense rays of the sun. Ponds, rivers, and streams are boiling. With temperatures exceeding 50 degrees Celsius in some parts of the country in May, Odisha has recorded a high of 47 degrees. Like Rajasthan, Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, and Jharkhand, the people of Odisha are struggling with severe drought and heat. Life has become chaotic. In the past week, the increasing number of heatstroke-related deaths has added to the concern.

Nationwide Heatwave Chaos

The intense summer heat has disrupted the lives of people across the country. In Uttar Pradesh and Bihar alone, nearly 200 people have died, primarily due to heatstroke. Last week in Rajasthan, 8 deaths were reported. In Uttar Pradesh, more than 160 people have died, with Varanasi being one of the most affected areas. In Bihar, heatstroke has claimed 65 lives across 12 districts. Many are being treated in various hospitals.

23 Deaths in a Day

Odisha has recorded an unprecedented number of deaths in a single day. In Sundargarh, Balangir, Dhenkanal, and Jajpur, there are suspicions that 23 people died due to heatstroke. In Sundargarh district alone, 17 deaths in a day have alarmed the administration. Between Thursday afternoon and evening, within just 8 hours, 12 people died at the Rourkela Government Hospital. Additionally, 4 people died at the Sundargarh District Hospital. There have also been reports of abnormal deaths in other parts of the district. The state government and local administration are deeply concerned about these deaths. A committee has been formed to investigate. Health experts have advised measures to get relief from the intense heat.

Three Deaths in Balangir Hospital

The intense heatwave is causing distress to the people of western Odisha. In Balangir district, the heatwave continues unabated. According to reports, Ramchandra Gadatia from Ranipali village under Balangir Sadar police station, Ashok Nayak from Beherapali village in Balangir, and Jitendra Prasad from Sikachida died due to heatstroke. Ramchandra collapsed on the road while going to take a bath. Ashok fell near a village pond while returning home from work. Jitendra fainted while working in the field. They were taken to Bhima Bhoi Medical College in critical condition, where doctors declared them dead.

Seven Suspected Deaths in Jharsuguda

In Jharsuguda, the temperature has reached 47 degrees Celsius, raising concerns among the residents. The presence of industries and coal mines has resulted in temperatures being 2 to 3 degrees higher. The heatwave starts early in the morning. Streets are deserted during the day. In the Lakhanpur and Brajrajnagar areas, where coal mines are located, drivers are the most affected. There are suspicions that the number of heatstroke-related deaths in Jharsuguda has reached seven. The district collector has advised residents not to step out of their homes between 10 AM and 5 PM.

Worker Collapses in Bargarh

In Bargarh, a worker collapsed while working on Friday. Subal Behera was working in the Bargarh market when he suddenly felt unwell and collapsed. He was immediately taken to the district hospital, where doctors declared him dead. His body has been sent for autopsy. Family members allege that Subal died due to heatstroke. Subal used to work as a laborer in various shops to support his family. On Friday, like any other day, he went to work but did not return home.

Subhalaxmi Dash,

MA English with Communication Studies, Christ University, Bengaluru Yeshwanthpur Campus.