An unrelenting heat wave has killed more than 1,100 people across the country over a fortnight with southern neighbours Andhra Pradesh and Telangana bearing the brunt, as torrid temperatures melted roads in the national capital and have forced people indoors.
Authorities said on Tuesday most of the victims were construction workers, the elderly or the homeless, as the weather office predicted the mercury will continue to soar this week with substantial relief expected only when the southwest monsoon hits the Indian mainland around May 31.
The death toll due to severe heat wave sweeping Andhra Pradesh has risen to 852 with the scorching weather claiming 202 lives in Prakasam district alone, officials said.
At least 266 deaths have been reported in Telangana where a maximum temperature of 44.5°C was recorded in Ramagundam city. Jangameswarapuram in Andhra was two notches higher at 46.4°C, though the absence of power cuts came as huge relief for residents of the two states who chose not to venture outside during the hottest part of the day.
Delhi is enduring a week of sweltering heat as the temperature in the city hit a two-year high of 45.5C (113.9F) on Monday.
The Hindustan Times newspaper carried a front-page photo of a zebra pedestrian crossing in the city melting in the heat.
“It’s baking hot out here – our outing has turned into a nightmare,” said Meena Sheshadri, a tourist from the western city of Pune, who was visiting a Delhi monument with her children.
“My throat is parched, even though I’ve been constantly sipping water.”
The meteorological department has issued a warning for Orissa, Jharkhand and Andhra Pradesh states saying that maximum temperatures there would remain above 45C (113F).