Odisha Heatwave: Suspected Sunstroke Deaths Climb to 96, Govt Issues Alerts

Bhubaneswar: Odisha has seen a dramatic surge in suspected sunstroke deaths in the past three days, with 67 new cases raising the total to 96. The state, particularly its western regions, is battling intense heatwave conditions that have led to this alarming increase.

Despite the high number of reported cases, the Odisha government has officially confirmed only nine deaths as heatstroke-related. Autopsy reports for 81 cases are still pending at the district level. Out of 42 cases reported by May 30, six were verified as sunstroke fatalities, while six were not. Additionally, three out of 54 alleged cases in the last three days have been confirmed as heatstroke-induced.

The heatwave’s impact has been widespread, affecting election duties and voters alike. A booth-level officer in Jajpur district’s Binjharpur block died while on election duty, and an elderly voter in Balasore district’s Nilagiri block collapsed while queuing at a polling booth.

Western Odisha has been hit hardest, with Balangir reporting 20 suspected heatstroke deaths in just two days, followed by Sambalpur with 15. Other western districts have also reported scattered deaths.

In response to the crisis, Chief Secretary P K Jena and Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) Satyabrata Sahu held an emergency meeting with district collectors. They asked everyone to strictly adhere to the SRC’s heatwave advisories and preventive measures.

Following the SRC’s 2015 order, post-mortem examinations are now mandatory for ex gratia assistance. Local revenue and medical officers must jointly investigate each case to determine the exact cause of death. The SRC’s office is continuously monitoring the situation.

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