Between March 1 and June 20, there have been as many as 143 deaths due to the prolonged heat wave that is sweeping a large part of the country, while 41,789 people suffered from suspected heatstroke during this period, according to the data compiled by the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).

The actual toll, however, is likely to be much higher as the data, compiled by NCDC under the National Heat-Related Illness and Death Surveillance, does not have updated submissions from states.

The scorching heatwave, particularly affecting northern India, has resulted in the loss of nearly 143 lives nationwide, according to the health ministry sources cited by news agency PTI on Friday. However, the actual toll may surpass the reported figure. Additionally, over 41,000 cases of heatstroke have been reported thus far. Acting on directives from Union Health Minister JP Nadda, the ministry has issued an advisory to state health departments regarding the ‘Heatwave Season 2024’.

The official data shows that on June 20 itself, there were 14 confirmed deaths due to heatstroke and nine due to suspected heatstroke, pushing the toll in the March-June period from 114 to 143. Uttar Pradesh is the worst-affected state with 35 casualties, followed by Delhi (21) and Bihar and Rajasthan (17 each), as per the data.

However, it is estimated that the temperatures in the national capital may have caused at least 100 more fatalities, including the 40 cases recorded at the Deen Dayal Upadhyay Hospital (DDU), pending confirmation through autopsies.

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