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India: Over 1,000 people killed by heatwave as temperatures hit 45 degrees Celsius


SomaNet News Archive

(By Estera Popowska)

The death toll from a major heatwave sweeping India has risen to over 1,100, Indian authorities said Wednesday while as forecasters cautioned that temperatures would continue rising. AFP quoted Brahma Prakash Yadav, director of Indian Meteorological Department, as saying top temperatures in the capital would remain around 45 degrees Celsius (113 Fahrenheit) -the national benchmark for a heatwave.

AFP reported that roads have melted in New Delhi, where forecasters said they expected the high temperatures to continue into next week -- adding to the misery of thousands living on the capital's streets with little shelter from the hot sun.

"Maximum temperatures won't fall substantially. However, major relief can be expected from June 2 as there are indications of good showers," he said. Hospitals in the worst-affected states were on alert to treat victims of heatstroke and authorities advised people to stay indoors and drink plenty of water. Hundreds of people -- mainly from the poorest sections of society -- die at the height of summer every year across the country, while tens of thousands suffer power cuts from an overburdened electricity grid.

According to reports, authorities in the worst-hit state of Andhra Pradesh in southern India, where nearly 900 people have died since May 18, called for emergency water distribution areas to be set up.