India heatwave kills 800 as capital's roads melt

04:12 PM | 26 May, 2015
India heatwave kills 800 as capital's roads melt
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HYDERABAD (APP) - At 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 searing 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.

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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.

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.

"The state government has taken up education programmes through television and other media to tell people not to venture into the outside without a cap, to drink water and other measures," said P. Tulsi Rani, special commissioner for disaster management in the state.

"We have also requested NGOs and government organisations to open up drinking water camps so that water will be readily available for all the people in the towns."

Hyderabad street vendor P. Gangamma said the heat was making her head pound, but she had no choice but to stay outside.

"For the past three days hot wind has been coming in," said the 65-year-old, who sells cigarettes on a busy intersection.

"I am a diabetes patient, but I have no husband and no sons, so I have to stay here and keep shop."