This page has been archived and is no longer updated. Find out more about page archiving.
Search BBC
BBC World Service
BBC BBC News BBC Sport BBC Weather BBC World Service Worldservice languages
spacer gif
You are in: Home page > News English > Words in the News
Learning English
spacer gif
Words in the News
Monday 06 August 2001
Vocabulary from the news. Listen to and read the report then find explanations of difficult words below.

  India Map
India Asylum Blaze
Summary: Police in the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu say twenty-five patients at an institution for the mentally ill have died after a fire broke out there early on Monday morning. Many of the patients were chained up.
The News Listen  
  Police are still trying to find the cause of the fire, which broke out at about five o'clock in the morning local time. One police officer told the BBC that fifty-three mentally ill patients were resident in the institution. The twenty-five dead included fourteen men and eleven women. Many of the patients were kept chained, which meant they couldn't escape when the blaze spread through the building. Police say the institution hadn't been licensed by the local authorities. It's one of a group of small buildings which have grown up around a Muslim shrine in the small town of Ervadi. Many of these small institutions are run on an ad-hoc basis as charities. Many of the patients, often violent or extreme cases of mental illness, are brought to the town by relatives, who hope the curative powers of the shrine will help. Some patients are detained there for many years and come from poor families who can't afford better medical care. Police say many of the patients killed in the blaze were Muslims from the neighbouring state of Kerala. In recent years, many larger institutions in India dealing with mental health have implemented reforms in their treatment and care of the mentally ill. But there is still little understanding of mental illness amongst the general public, and little sympathy towards patients.


The Words Listen
  broke out

living in.

a large organisation like a hospital, a university, or a bank. Here institution means ‘a hospital for people with mental problems’.

large fire.

given official permission to exist or to work.

a place that people visit because it is connected with a holy event or person.

  ad hoc basis
only when necessary; without planning.

  implemented reforms
taken official action to make changes for the better.

  Read more about this story  

Other Words in the News archives


BBC copyright
Learning English | News English | Business English | Watch and Listen
Grammar and Vocabulary | Communicate | Quizzes | For teachers
Downloads | FAQ | Contact us