750 dead amid India heatwave


More than 750 people have died in southern India since the middle of April as soaring summer temperatures scorch the country.

The south-eastern states of Andhra Pradesh and Telengana have been hit the hardest, officials said.

More than 550 people have died from the unrelenting heat in Andhra Pradesh since May 13, state deputy chief minister Nimmakayala Chinna Rajappa said.

Bhambal Ram Meena, a top state official in Telangana, said about 215 heat-related deaths have been reported since April 15.

Daily temperatures in both states have hit between 45C and 48C (113F and 118F). Officials have urged people to stay indoors as much as possible.

Blistering hot, dry winds have also swept across most parts of north and central India, wilting plants and forcing people to avoid the outdoors. In the cities, large crowds of office workers gather around stalls selling cold fruit drinks.

Weather officials say the sweltering temperatures are likely to continue in southern India for at least another week.

Monsoon rains, expected to arrive in the southern state of Kerala in the first week of June, should bring some respite.

The monsoon season runs through September as the rains gradually cover the entire country.

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