Delhi Heatwave & Water Crisis: 5 Dead, 12 On Life Support; Minister Seeks PM’s Intervention

New Delhi: The national Capital is experiencing an extremely harsh summer.

If the unending heatwave was not enough, Delhiites are having to cope with a water crisis.

Five people have died over the last two days and at least 12 persons are on life support at state-run Ram Manohar Lohia (RML) Hospital, NDTV reported.

Dr Ajay Shukla, medical superintendent of RML hospital, told NDTV that 22 people had been admitted after suffering heatstroke. “Five patients died and 12 or 13 patients are on ventilator support,” he informed.

Warning that the mortality rate in heatstroke cases is about 60-70 per cent, Dr Rai said: “If the patient is brought late to the hospital, one organ after the other starts failing. There is a lack of awareness. A lot of these patients are migrant labourers. Also, the symptoms (of heatstroke) can be easily missed or mistaken for something else. It’s only when patients faint that their relatives feel that hospitalisation is needed.”

Union Health Minister JP Nadda sent an advisory to all hospitals in Delhi to provide priority treatment for all patients admitted with problems caused by the heatwave.

Delhi saw a relatively comfortable April, compared to other parts of India, but the tide turned in May. India’s Capital has been reeling under an unrelenting heatwave for almost a month now, with minimum temperatures crossing 35 degrees Celsius – far above normal — and maximum temperatures hovering around the 45-degree mark.

Atishi threatens indefinite fast

The prolonged heatwave has pushed up demand for water.

The Delhi government has been asking Haryana to allow release of water into the Yamuna, citing humanitarian grounds, but the issue remains unresolved.

On Wednesday, Delhi Water minister Atishi said she has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking his intervention in the water crisis. She threatened to sit on an indefinite fast from Friday if the issue is not resolved.

“We have tried all possible steps by requesting the Haryana government and petitioning the Supreme Court. We have sought intervention from Union Jal Shakti minister. On Tuesday, a high-level delegation of officers from Delhi met Haryana government officers but they refused to provide any water… The suffering of the people of Delhi has crossed all limits. I have written to Prime Minister Modi requesting his intervention. If Delhi’s rightful share of water is not provided in the next two days, I will start a satyagraha for water. I will start an indefinite fast till Delhi gets its water,” the minister told mediapersons.

Atishi claimed Delhi gets only 1,050 MGD (million gallons per day) for around 3 crore people while a similar population in Haryana has access to around 6,500 MGD water.

Delhi’s water scarcity is primarily due to raw water shortage.

The national Capital is dependent on neighbouring states to meet 86.5% of its raw water needs.

Haryana government has maintained that enough water is being provided as per water-sharing agreement, and said Delhi should improve its water management.

Water production in Delhi was 916 MGD on Tuesday, against the target of 1,000 MGD.

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