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Bihar: Heatwave claims 37 lives; Harsh Vardhan advises people to stay indoors

Severe heatwave has claimed the lives of at least 37 people in Bihar, which is also grappling with an outbreak of Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES), particularly in Muzaffarpur district, where the death toll from the deadly disease on Sunday rose to 84.

Most heatwave deaths have been reported from Aurangabad, Gaya and Nawada with scorching heat claiming lives of at least 25 people in Aurangabad district on Saturday.

Confirming the deaths, Aurangabad civil surgeon Dr Surendra Prasad Singh said that the toll could further rise as the number of patients being admitted in the hospital with related cases was increasing.

Twelve people have died in Gaya so far of heat.

Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan who arrived in Patna on Sunday called the deaths in Gaya as "unfortunate". "It's very unfortunate that people have died due to heat stroke. I advise people to avoid moving out of the house till temperature reduces. Intense heat affects the brain and leads to various health issues."

Vardhan along with Minister of State for Health Ashwini Choubey met patients and their families at the government Sri Krishna Medical College and Hospital in Muzaffarpur.

Previously Chief Minister Nitish Kumar expressed grief over the deaths due to heat and announced an ex gratia payment of Rs 4 lakh to the next of the kin of the deceased. He also directed all district magistrates to take precautionary measures in the wake of severe heatwave condition in the state.

The Bihar government on Saturday said all schools in the city will remain closed till June 19 in view of the prevailing weather condition.

According to the weather department, maximum temperatures were markedly above normal (5.1 degree Celsius or more) at many places over Bihar on Saturday. On Sunday Gaya (45.2 degrees Celsius) and Patna (45.8 degrees Celsius) were among the hottest places in the country according to private weather forecaster Skymet.