India cold snap death toll climbs to 93

An Indian woman and a young child share a shawl to protect themselves from cold on a foggy morning, in New Delhi, India, Monday, Dec 19, 2011. Most deaths take place among the homeless and the elderly

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Nearly 100 people have died in a cold snap sweeping across northern India, media reports say.

The majority of deaths were in the state of Uttar Pradesh. Punjab and Haryana are among the other northern states badly hit.

Most deaths take place among the homeless and the elderly.

Earlier this month, the country's Supreme Court ordered states to provide adequate night shelters for the homeless during the winter.

"You should not allow even a single person to die this winter from the freezing cold," the judges said.

The Press Trust of India news agency reported that 18 people had died of the cold on Wednesday, taking the toll so far this winter to 93.

In Uttar Pradesh, India's most populous state, 61 people have died so far. Jharkhand (14), Punjab (11) and Bihar (seven) are the other states where people have died of cold.

The deaths continued even as the temperature rose a bit in several parts of northern India, the Press Trust of India said.

Temperatures in Delhi, which has also been hit by the cold snap, rose to 6.8C, up from 4.8C on Tuesday.

Heavy fog has disrupted train services in Punjab and Haryana, and many parts of Indian-administered Kashmir experienced sub-zero temperatures.

The cold wave has forced schools to shut in the state of Bihar until 25 December, reports said.

An official from the meteorological department said the cold weather would continue for a number of days.

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