By dpa (TNS)
NEW DELHI –– A searing heat wave in India has killed more than 2,200 people.
Most died in the southern states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana after temperatures in the past week soared to their highest sustained levels in 12 years.
The total death toll in both states stood at 2,177, after about 200 more deaths were reported between Friday and Saturday, disaster management officials said. Andhra Pradesh recorded 1,636 deaths while Telangana accounted for 541.
More than 60 deaths were reported from Orissa, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat states, and the national capital, New Delhi, local reports said.
The heat wave in India is the fifth deadliest in the world and second deadliest in India, according to Emergency Events Database.
The database, maintained by the Brussels-based Center for Research on Epidemiology of Disasters, the deadliest heatwave on record in India was in 1998, killing 2,541 people. The most lethal heatwave in the world was the one that hit Europe in 2003, killing more than 71,000 people.
Temperatures at many places in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana hovered between 104 and 113 degrees. Isolated showers provided no relief.
Most of the victims were poor or elderly.
In a radio address Sunday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi told Indians not only to drink plenty of water and keep their bodies covered to avoid sunstroke, but also to care for birds, animal and cattle, by providing them water.
Forecasters said the heat wave could continue for the next few days.
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Photo: AFP/File / Sanjay Kanojia