Another 56 die as killer heatwave rages on | india | Hindustan Times
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Another 56 die as killer heatwave rages on

Another 56 people have died in the intense heatwave gripping the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, taking the state's toll to 1,291, officials said.

india Updated: Jun 07, 2003 10:21 IST

Another 56 people have died in the intense heatwave gripping the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, taking the state's toll to 1,291, officials said.

Although the first monsoon showers have begun drenching some of the remote northeastern parts of the country, the parched landscape of Andhra Pradesh continued on Friday to suffer the searing heatwave.

The state's highest maximum temperature of 46.8 degrees (116.2 Fahrenheit) was reported from the town of Vijayawada.

Scores of poor people have been dying in the state as they brave the blistering heat to work in farms or earn money through labouring.

The latest deaths bring India's national toll to 1,403.

Weather officials said relief could be expected in the next few days with the monsoon hitting the Kerala coast in the southwest.

State Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu has set up an emergency task force to investigate the reasons for the high death toll, a repeat of last year when 1,037 died in the heat.

Andhra Pradesh has one of the highest concentrations of India's poorest people. Almost 12 million people, or 15 percent of the population, live below the government-designated poverty line.

Elsewhere in the country, the heat has killed at least 112 people.

In the northern state of Kashmir, the winter capital Jammu recorded the highest temperature since 1972 of 45.2 degrees Celsius (113.4 Fahrenheit) on Thursday.

Rains are not expected to arrive there for up to a week.

The hot weather has resulted in frequent power cuts and erratic water supply in many parts of India including New Delhi.

In neighbouring Bangladesh, 62 people have died from a heatwave in the past week, while more than 100 have been killed in Pakistan.