India’s heat wave has now claimed over 1,100 lives, with spiking temperatures melting roads in the capital, New Delhi, as the country awaits the arrival of the annual monsoon rains. More than 850 people have succumbed in the southeastern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, where extreme temperatures claimed more than 200 lives in one district alone. In neighboring Telangana state, at least 266 people have died, officials say. Deaths have also been reported in the eastern states of Odisha and West Bengal, and in Gujarat on the country’s western coast. With temperatures in parts of the country nearing 122°F (50°C), most of the deaths have been reported over the past week.
In New Delhi, where temperatures have been hovering around the 113°F (45°C) mark, the local Hindustan Times newspaper carried a picture on its front page on Tuesday of the disfigured white stripes of a pedestrian crossing as the asphalt on a city road melted in the extreme heat. Twitter users posted similar images. Most of the victims of the heat wave sweeping across the country were elderly, homeless or construction workers forced to work outside even as temperatures climbed, the paper said. Annual monsoon rains that are expected to hit southern India in the coming days will bring some relief — although it will take some time for the rains to reach northern India, Agence France-Presse reports. Even as the rains are forecast to arrive in the south of the country, meteorologists expect above normal temperatures in north and central India until the weekend, the Economic Times newspaper reports. In New Delhi, substantial relief is only expected to arrive in early June. FULL REPORT