An intense heat wave that has driven daytime temperatures as high as 118°F (48°C) in parts of India has claimed over 400 lives.
The toll is the highest in the southeastern Indian states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, according to the Hindustan Times newspaper, which cited an official from Andhra Pradesh’s disaster-management department, who said the state had recorded nearly 250 deaths between Wednesday and Sunday.
In Telangana, state authorities reported 186 heat-related deaths since mid-April, with most being reported in recent days as temperatures spiked across the region. The highest reading was in Telangana’s Khamman district, where the temperature rose to 118°F on Sunday.
“Almost all the victims are old. Inquiries reveal that most of them were working and were exposed to the heat. Dehydration and heat stroke caused the deaths,” B.R. Meena, a senior Telangana state official, told the Indian Express newspaper.
“Elderly people, laborers, beggars and people living on the streets are worst hit,” K.E. Krishna Murthy, revenue minister in neighboring Andhra Pradesh, told the paper.
The mercury has also climbed in the country’s capital, New Delhi, where temperatures soared to 110.3°F (43.5°C) on Sunday.