In a tragic turn of events, Gujarat witnessed the loss of ten lives due to heart attacks within the span of just 24 hours at various Garba celebrations during the Navratri festival. The victims encompassed a range of age groups, from teenagers to middle-aged individuals, with the youngest among them being a 13-year-old boy from Dabhoi, Baroda.
On a fateful Friday, a 24-year-old man from Ahmedabad suddenly collapsed while enthusiastically participating in the Garba dance, leading to his untimely demise. Similarly, a 17-year-old boy from Kapadwanj also lost his life while immersed in the joy of Garba. Tragically, a series of similar incidents has been reported across the state over the course of the past day.
Adding to the concern, the first six days of the Navratri festival witnessed a surge in emergency calls related to heart problems and breathlessness. The 108 emergency ambulance services were inundated with 521 calls for heart-related issues and an additional 609 calls for cases of breathlessness. These alarming statistics were recorded during the evening hours, from 6 pm to 2 am, precisely when Garba celebrations traditionally take place.
This worrisome trend has triggered a response from both the government and event organizers. The state government promptly issued an alert to all government hospitals and community health centers (CHCs) in close proximity to Garba venues, urging them to remain on high alert during this festive season.
Garba event organizers have also received directives to establish clear pathways for ambulances, ensuring swift access in cases of emergencies. They have taken proactive measures to safeguard the well-being of participants by stationing medical professionals and ambulances at the venues. Additionally, organizers have been advised to equip their staff with CPR training and ensure an abundant supply of water for all participants.
Tragically, this year’s Navratri festivities in Gujarat have already seen three individuals succumbing to heart attacks during Garba practice prior to the recent surge in heart-related incidents. The collective response from authorities and event organizers is a step towards averting further tragedies and ensuring the safety of those celebrating the vibrant Navratri festival.