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Dublin: 7 °C Tuesday 21 January, 2020
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Over 2,000 people have died in India's heatwave - and it's not getting any cooler

It’s over 45 degrees today.

Image: AP/Press Association Images

INDIA’S BRUTAL WEEKS-LONG heatwave has killed more than 2,000 people, authorities said, as the government launched a mass education campaign to help people cope with scorching temperatures.

Hundreds of mainly poor people die at the height of summer every year in India, but this year’s toll is the second highest in India’s history and fifth most in recorded history globally, according to EM-DAT, an international disaster database.

The southern states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana — which have so far borne the brunt of the heatwave — accounted for 1,979 deaths. A further 17 people were killed in Orissa, eastern India, while nine people were reported dead elsewhere in the country, taking the death toll to 2,005.

India Heat Wave A man drinks water from a bottle as he quenches thirst to beat the scorching heat in Mumbai. Source: Rajanish Kakade

A total of 2,541 people died in 1998 due to extreme temperatures, the highest figure in India’s history, according to EM-DAT.

Officials in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, meanwhile, launched public education campaigns to inform the most vulnerable on how to withstand the heat.

India Heat Wave An Indian man enjoys high tide waves at the Arabian Sea coast in Mumbai. Source: Rajanish Kakade

In Telangana, the authorities were using pamphlets and local media to inform people to avoid going outdoors and to drink plenty of water, the state’s disaster management chief B.R. Meena said.

Maximum temperatures across India hovered around 45 degrees Celsius (113 Fahrenheit), with forecasters in New Delhi warning that searing temperatures would continue next week across several states.

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Read: 430 people have died in a 50-degree heatwave in India

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