Malappuram: A 42-year-old man has died of sunstroke in Kerala's Malappuram district as temperatures continue to soar in the state.
The man, identified as Thirunavaya native Sudheesh Kodakallil, was found on the field with sunburn marks on his body.
He was taken to Tirur municipality hospital by his colleagues where doctors declared him dead. Heatstroke was informed to be the cause of death.
Kerala has been experiencing a heatwave these past weeks with scant cloud cover and the absence of rain pushing the mercury-levels above normal.
A warning was issued by the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) for six districts on Monday, namely Thiruvananthapuram, Alappuzha, Kottayam, Thrissur, Kozhikode and Kannur. The temperatures in these districts saw a hike of 3 degrees above normal (33).
On Friday, Kottayam recorded 35 degrees Celsius, 2 degrees more than the normal, while in Alappuzha it was 36 degrees and Thrissur 35 degrees.
Thiruvananthapuram recorded 35 degrees Celsius, 2 degrees above normal. Meanwhile, Kozhikode recorded 35 degrees Celsius and Kannur 37 degrees.
With mercury-levels on the rise, the state labour department has already issued orders rescheduling the working hours of those who are exposed to sunlight by allowing mandatory break times to prevent sunstroke.
There are an estimated 3 million migrant workers in Kerala.
As per the order, which has come into effect from February 11 to April 30, those working on morning shifts would get a mandatory three-hour break from noon to 3pm.
Their eight-hour shift would commence from 7 am.
For the other shifts which begin after morning and post-noon, it would be rescheduled to end before noon and begin after 3 pm, as per the order.
The instructions would not be applicable to those labourers working in places over 3,000-feet above sea level.
The Kerala State Disaster Management Authority has warned those exposed to sunlight including construction workers, roadside vendors, traffic policemen, media reporters, traffic inspectors to take adequate precaution during their duty hours.
Severe heat causes havoc in the body, affecting the brain, the heart, and the kidneys. The intense heat causes dehydration and the sudden loss of fluids leads to complications. Seizures and organ failure follow resulting in death.
Last year, more than 100 people had suffered sunstroke in the state, the Health Department pointed out. The World Health Organization says heat stress, linked to climate change, is likely to cause 38,000 extra deaths a year worldwide between 2030 and 2050.