NEW DELHI, April 9 (Xinhua) -- Heatwave in two southern states of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh has killed at least 111 people, officials said Saturday.
The mercury in the twin states has gone up to 45 degrees Celsius.
"While 66 people died in Telangana, 45 lost their lives in Andhra Pradesh due to heatstroke," an official said. "Nearly half of the deaths reported in Telengana were from the worst drought hit Mahabubnagar and Medak districts."
According to the Meteorological department, a considerable rise in the maximum temperatures have been recorded during the past several days.
Officials said the usual April rains have been delayed in these two states, pushing mercury upwards.
Temperatures have risen unusually in the first week of April with several parts of the country recording deviations of more than 5°C.
Authorities have advised people to avoid exposure to the sun between 12:00 to 4:00 p.m. (local time) during the day.
India's state-run television Doordarshan quoting weather officials attributes the early onset of heat to after-effects of the weather phenomenon El Nino (an irregularly occurring and complex series of climatic changes) that caused poor monsoon last year.
"State governments have started precautionary majors to prevent any harm to people due to heat waves," Doordarshan said, adding "In some states government departments and local bodies have arranged for drinking water booths in public places while district collectors are publicizing precautionary measures to survive harsh weather conditions."
Last year the heatwave claimed nearly 2,000 lives in these two states.
Reports said temperatures have been recorded higher than normal in parts of western Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, eastern Rajasthan and parts of Madhya Pradesh.
The heatwave that has been hovering over central and peninsular India is shifting east to Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Jharkhand. Temperatures in some parts of these states have crossed 43 degree Celsius, reports said.
Maharashtra has been facing a drought like situation due to two successive poor monsoons. People in Marthwara are facing acute shortage of drinking water and officials say dams in the region are left with just five per cent of water ahead of the summer season.