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DateLine Wednesday, 13 June 2007

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Indian heatwave kills over 100 people

INDIA: A heatwave in northern and central India has claimed 63 more lives, taking the toll since the start of summer to 137, the Press Trust of India said Monday.

The northern state of Uttar Pradesh — one of India’s most impoverished — was the worst affected, with 13 new deaths reported Monday, taking the statewide total to 62 since mid-April, the news agency said.

“Winds are coming from Rajasthan and Pakistan which are very high in temperatures — winds blowing from hotter areas will bring in heat,” S.C. Bhan, the head of the weather office in the capital New Delhi, told AFP.

Nine bodies were recovered from various parts of New Delhi, which recorded its hottest day of the year on Saturday at 44.9 degrees Celsius (112.8 degrees Fahrenheit), nearly five degrees above normal.

Other deaths due to heatstroke were reported from the plains of northern and central India.

Over the weekend, 37 people fell victim to the scorching sun. Most of the dead were the homeless, old and poor.

The real toll, however, could be far higher, with many people dying from heat-related illnesses such as dehydration, heart attacks and diarrhoea in poor regions where official statistics are not well kept, officials said.

Meteorologists said, however, that relief was in sight with the mercury set to drop in the coming days as the monsoon pushes north.

Bhan said that temperatures would drop back to normal by midweek.

New Delhi, Tuesday, AFP

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