Extreme temperatures kill more than 2,000 people in India's second deadliest heat wave

The heat wave has predominantly affected the southern states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana

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The Independent Online

More than 2,000 people have died in India’s current heat wave, the second deadliest in the country’s history.

Rain brought limited relief this weekend to scorched southern states, where almost 2,200 people have died since the extreme temperatures began in mid-April.

It is the world's fifth deadliest heat wave, according to the Emergency Events Database, collated by a Brussels-based disaster centre.

The world's most lethal heat wave occurred in Europe when 71,310 people died in 2003. While India's most deadly heat wave saw 2,541 deaths in 1998.

Indian officials said that the heat would continue for at least another day in the worst affected states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.

On Saturday and Sunday temperatures in the states ranged between 45C and 47C, about 3C to 7C higher than normal, according to the meteorological centre in the Telangana state capital of Hyderabad.

In Andhra Pradesh alone 1,636 people have died in the past month and a half and another 561 people have died in neighbouring Telangana.


Other areas of India have also been affected. In Uttar Pradesh in the north of the country 22 people have died in the past two weeks, while reports state 21 people have died in Orissa in the east.

In the western state of Gujurat seven people have died and in the capital New Delhi two people are thought to have been killed by the heat.

Rekha Tiwari, a housewife in Lucknow, the Uttar Pradesh state capital, said: “We can't bear this heat. The situation is worsened by frequent power outages.”

In New Delhi Mohammed Waseem, a cart puller, was forced to continue delivering goods in the capital, where temperatures hovered around 41C on Sunday after a brief morning shower. “I have to work to feed myself,” he said.

The monsoon rains, set to hit the southern coast of the country in June, are expected to lower temperatures across the country in the coming months.

Additional reporting by AP