At least 79 dead as cold wave grips northern India and Nepal

More than 70 people have died in India and Nepal over the weekend as intense cold wave descended upon the region. 

According to local media reports, lack of night shelters and amenities have already led to the death of over 70 homeless and poor people in India’s state of Uttar Pradesh, as of Saturday, January 6, 2018.

22 deaths have been reported from Poorvanchal, 3 each in Brij and Bareilly divisions, 11 in Allahabad division and 28 in Bundelkhand region, Firstpost reported.

According to the paper, a government official said that adequate arrangements have been made for bonfires and night shelters, ‘although the ground realities are in stark contrast to these claims.’

At many places in the Uttar Pradesh capital Lucknow, the claims have fallen flat in the last 48-hours, their article states. Reports suggest that most bonfires have been taken over by “VVIPs” and were being lit outside the bungalows of ministers, political leaders and the who’s who in power.

In addition, the death toll presented by officials is drastically lower than that reported by local media.

The capital registered 3 °C (37.4 °F) on Friday, January 5, the coldest day of the season so far. On the same day, Bahraich recorded 3.4 °C (38.1 °F), Muzaffarnagar 4.9 °C (40.8 °F), Kanpur 4.2 °C (39.5 °F), Barabanki 3.4 °C (38.1 °F), while Varanasi, Meerut and Lakhimpur Kheri were all at 5 °C (41 °F).

In neighboring Nepal, cold wave has claimed at least 9 lives in its southern Terai region since January 5. Six people reportedly died of freezing cold in Saptari district and three in Rautahat. The victims were mostly children and elderly people, local media reported according to data provided by local authorities.

The cold has disrupted normal lives across the country, including the closure of academic institutions.

To have a big picture of where cold Arctic air was present at 06:00 UTC, January 6, and more or less still is today, take a look at the image below. Notice Northern America and Asia are somewhat equally affected. 

Temperature at 06:00 UTC on January 6, 2018. Credit: Earth.Nullschool.net

Observable patterns over the past couple of northern hemisphere winters suggest Europe will see these temperatures during 2018 meteorological spring, like it did last year after an abnormally warm start of the year. Kind of like it has right now.

Featured image: Annapurna, Nepal by Nicolas Bourque

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