Doubts emerge over India heat wave death claims

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NEW DELHI – Indian disaster management officials said on Monday that death toll from a scorching heat wave across India rose to over 2,300 on Monday.

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It said in a report that 84 more people died in the worst-affected southern states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, where the combined death toll stood at 2,261.
More than 60 deaths were reported from Orissa, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat states, as well as the national capital, New Delhi, local reports said.
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The officials said rains on the weekend brought down temperatures in certain areas, but weather officials said the heat-wave would ease only after more rains in the next three to four days.
An official said on condition of anonymity that doubts have however been raised, over the death toll in Andhra Pradesh, where officials said 1,677 people had died.
He said the number of deaths reported to local authorities had almost doubled, after Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu, announced a compensation of 1,570 dollars for the kin of victims.
Meanwhile, Jagdish Sharma, State Disaster Chief, said only 600 casualties had been certified to have been caused by heat.
He said a three-member panel was set up in every district to investigate and detect genuine cases following the doubling in reported deaths after the relief announcement.
“It is not possible to confirm about the deaths soon after they are reported because scores of such casualties are taking place everyday.
The Emergency Events Database, an international disasters database, said the heat-wave in India, was the fifth deadliest in the world and second deadliest in India after the one in 1998 that claimed 2,541 lives. (dpa/NAN)

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