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Published on : Tuesday, May 26, 2015
Major heatwave sweeps India claiming 800 lives till nowAt least 800 people have died in a major heatwave that has swept across India, melting roads in New Delhi as temperatures neared 50 degrees Celsius (122 Fahrenheit). Hospitals were on alert to treat victims of heatstroke and authorities advised people to stay indoors, with no end in sight to the soaring conditions.
India’s Meteorological Department said it had issued heat warnings to several states where temperatures were forecast to top 45 degrees Celsius over the next few days.
“As of now, we don’t predict any respite from the extreme heatwave for the next few days,” said spokesman B. P. Yadav.
Streets were deserted in Hyderabad, capital of the worst-hit state of Andhra Pradesh in southern India where 551 people have died in the last week.
Large parts of India, including the capital New Delhi, have endured days of sweltering heat, prompting fears of power cuts as energy-guzzling air conditioners work overtime.
The Hindustan Times daily said the maximum temperature in the capital hit a two-year high of 45.5 degrees Celsius on Monday — five degrees higher than the seasonal average.
The paper carried a front-page photo of a main road in the city melting in
the heat, with the white pedestrian crossing stripes curling and spreading into the black asphalt.
“It’s baking hot out here — our outing has turned into a nightmare,” said Meena Sheshadri, a 37-year-old tourist from the western city of Pune who was visiting Delhi’s India Gate monument with her children.
In Telangana state, which borders Andhra Pradesh in the south, 231 people have died in the last week as temperatures hit 48 degrees Celsius over the weekend.
In the western state of Orissa 11 people were confirmed to have died from the heat.
Another 13 people have died in the eastern state of West Bengal, where
unions urged drivers in the city of Kolkata to stay off the roads during the day.
India’s power industry has long struggled to meet rapidly rising demand in Asia’s third largest economy, with poorly maintained transmission lines and overloaded grids.