The death toll from a searing heat wave sweeping large swathes of India crossed 1,400 on Thursday with the Metrology Department saying there was no immediate end in sight.
Disaster Management Unit Chief, Bhambal Meena said that a total of 1,020 deaths were reported from the southern state of Andhra Pradesh alone where temperatures continued to hover between 45 and 47 degrees Celsius.
Meena said that in the neighbouring Telangana state 340 people had died, adding that a bulk of the victims were poor labourers working in the open.
“People have been asked to avoid stepping outdoors between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. and doctors at government-run hospitals have been told not to go on leave.
“There were also reports of 60 deaths in the eastern states of Orissa, West Bengal and a few in New Delhi and its outskirts,’’ Meena said.
He said that the usually busy streets of the national capital looked emptier in the noon hours and markets had few visitors.
Roadside vendors of cool drinks did brisk business.
The Metrology Department said that heat wave conditions were expected to persist over most of India for the next three days.
It also predicted thunderstorms in parts of eastern and northern India.
India’s monsoon rains were expected to hit the southern coast of Kerala state by June 1.

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