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Death toll from searing temperatures in India tops 1,100

More than one thousand people have died of heatstroke in India in the last few weeks, mostly in Andhra Pradesh state. Forecasters have said that the heat is unlikely to break before June.

More than 1,100 people have died in a heat wave sweeping across the south of India, authorities said Wednesday as weather forecasters warned that the sweltering temperatures showed no signs of abating.

Although the heat wave could also be felt in New Delhi, where it melted roads, most of the fatalities occurred in the south, where construction workers and the elderly have suffered the most along with the homeless unable to comply with official advisories to remain inside.

Andhra Pradesh is the worst-hit state. 884 have died of heatstroke there since May 18, 668 of whom lost their lives between Saturday and Monday, when the mercury climbed up to 48 degrees Celsius (118 Fahrenheit). In Delhi, local media reported that around 75 people had died.

The director of the Indian Meteorological Department, Brahma Prakash Yadav, cautioned that the temperature in the capital would hover around 45 degrees Celsius (113 Fahrenheit), the national record for a heat wave.

"Maximum temperatures won't fall substantially. However, major relief can be expected from June 2 as there are indications of good showers," Yadav said. The respite is likely to be followed by another hot spell, as the monsoon season is still weeks away for the country's arid plains far from the coast.

Hundreds of people, usually from the poverty-stricken parts of society, die at the height of summer in India every year. The heat waves are usually accompanied by power outages across tens of thousands of buildings as the circuits become overloaded with the demand from millions of air conditioners.

es/jil (AFP, dpa)

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