In the previous three days, 54 people have died and around 400 have been hospitalised in Ballia, Uttar Pradesh, as a result of the district’s record-breaking heat. Officials have given conflicting accounts for the deaths.
On June 15, 23 patients passed away, followed by 20 the following day and 11 today.
A senior government doctor from Lucknow who is in head of the investigation team discounted heat today after government doctors stationed in the eastern Uttar Pradesh district had previously claimed the deaths may have been related to a heatwave.
“Prima facie, these do not appear to be heatwave-related deaths because nearby districts facing similar conditions are not throwing up similar death figures. The initial symptoms were of chest pain mostly which is not the first symptom for someone affected by a heatwave,” said a senior government doctor AK Singh.
He further asserted that the deaths might be connected to water.
“It will be investigated if the deaths were due to water or if there’s a different reason. The climate department will also come to check water samples,” he said.
A Chief Medical Superintendent rank doctor assigned to Ballia earlier in the day was relieved of his duties after his on-the-record claim that many of the fatalities were caused by heatstroke went viral. He was fired for “giving a careless statement on deaths caused by heatwave without having proper information,” according to UP Health Minister Brajesh Pathak.
Akhilesh Yadav, the leader of the Samajwadi Party, blamed the state administration for the killings, which infuriated the opposition.
“The negligence of the state government has resulted in the deaths of so many people in UP. The public should have been informed about the heatwave. In the past six years, not a single district hospital has been constructed in UP. Poor farmers who lost their lives as a result of delayed access to food, medication, and medical care, he claimed, were farmers.
Brajesh Pathak stated that he is personally keeping an eye on the situation in Ballia and that the administration has taken the incident there seriously.
The hospital has become overcrowded as a result of the abrupt rise in fatalities and the number of patients being admitted with fever, respiratory problems, and other problems; this has alerted the personnel.
There is such a rush at the district hospital that many nurses are carrying their patients to the emergency department on their shoulders and patients are unable to obtain stretchers. However, the Additional Health Director emphasised that it becomes challenging if ten people show there at once, even though they do have stretchers.