The intense cold spell which has enveloped South Asia for more than
three weeks has killed at least 62 more people, officials say as the
toll in the region's worst winter in decades rose above 1,300.
While bright sunshine greeted Bangladesh and brought some respite
from the cold, which has claimed 533 lives there so far, the India
Meteorological Department (IMD) says northern India would not be as
fortunate for a few more days.
The IMD says minimum temperatures were between four and seven degrees
Celsius below normal across the region and the cold was exacerbated
by chilly winds.
Forty-seven new deaths were reported from the populous northern
Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, the worst hit region this season, with
a total death toll of nearly 600.
The eastern Indian state of Bihar accounted for eight new deaths
while central state Madhya Pradesh accounted for seven.
Although temperatures in South Asia do not fall as low in North
America and Europe, people have been hit harder because millions in
the region live on pavements or in shacks.
Most of the dead have been pavement dwellers and beggars who are
exposed when the mercury has fallen to below freezing levels in
northern India, a rare occurrence in the Gangetic plains.
Indian authorities have arranged for public bonfires by the side of
pavements and shifted some of the homeless to temporary shelters, but
many among the poor say the effort was not enough.
"We collect waste wood, old tyres and anything else that can burn for
some time for our bonfire to keep us warm at least for a while",
Chotey Lal, a homeless construction worker in Uttar Pradesh's capital
Lucknow, who earns about $1 a day said.
In Patna, Bihar's capital, district administrator Vinay Kumar says
authorities would decide on Monday whether educational institutions
in the district should remain closed due to the intense cold or hold
Police in Madhya Pradesh says a villager and his three daughters
burned to death when their bed linen caught fire from a bonfire lit
to keep them warm through the night.
There were no new deaths in the Himalayan kingdom of Nepal, where 55
people have died so far.
The cold spell has also hit Pakistan's populous Punjab province but
no deaths have been reported."
This matches the Three Gorge rediversion this November and EMF
reductions that I would predict would occur for "poor" insulation and
bio-chemistry impacting impedance in nearby oceans, altering cirrus