May 29, 2015 2:55 AM EDT

More than 1,800 people have died as a severe heat wave persists across India.

The southeastern state of Andhra Pradesh has been the worst affected, with more than 1,300 people succumbing to the blistering heat that has driven temperatures as high as 117 degrees fahrenheit (47 degrees Celsius) in parts of the country.

“Our wards are completely full,” J V Subbarao, medical officer at the Rajiv Gandhi Institute for Medical Sciences in Andhra Pradesh, told the AFP news agency. “I have worked as a medical officer in this district for 40 years and I have never seen anything like this, with so many people arriving already dead.”

As the death toll rises, the country is bracing itself for a continuation of the extreme conditions, with forecasters expecting temperatures to remain high for several more days. In the meantime, ordinary people must try and keep cool in any way they can.

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