In the north and north-eastern states of India over 300 people are reported to have been killed by a heatwave that is affecting the region.
In the north and north-eastern states of India over 300 people are reported to have been killed by a heatwave that is affecting the region. Temperatures have been as high as 43.3 degrees centigrade (110 Fahrenheit).
SYNOPSIS: The heatwave has been accompanied by a drought...the land has been scorched, crops of rice and ???te lost. Vast areas of farmland have been turned into wasteland, w ells and streams have dried up...forcing people to dig into river beds to find any water that lies beneath the ground.
The drought has also affected livestock.
Three states are affected Bihar, West Bengal and Orissa. In West Bengal alone, it's estimated half of the population of 50 million have been affected by the drought...and in Bihar state 220 people are said to have died from heat stroke. For villagers the immediate problem is one of survival and saving their cattle. There's little hope of saving the crops.
The state governments have organised several emergency projects. One has been to bring water in by road in tankers, from Calcutta. In some regions the tankers have provided the only water for miles (kilometres) around.
Shallow tube wells have also been sunk, to provide villagers with drinking water. For the people of West Bengal, the drought comes only eight months after their state was hit by a cyclone and devastating floods, which left almost million without homes. Weathermen predicted on Friday (8 June) that the heatwave would continue for several days. Villagers expect it to be broken with the delayed arrival of the annual monsoon rains.