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Heat wave in India claims 34 lives

A boy drinks water from a water tanker as others wait to drink in New Delhi, India, on Sunday.Sebastian John / AP
/ Source: The Associated Press

India's most populous state gave schoolchildren an early start on their summer vacation as the death toll from a heat wave rose to 34 on Monday.

For days now, temperatures across much of northern India have hovered around 110, four to five degrees above normal. Frequent power failures have aggravated the misery and set off protests across Uttar Pradesh.

On Monday the northern state reported six more deaths from heat stroke, bringing to 24 the number of fatalities blamed on the heat wave in Uttar Pradesh. Ten other people have died in the eastern state of Orissa.

The dead, all homeless, include two children, said Anurag Singh, a government official in Lucknow, the state capital of Uttar Pradesh.

In response, the state ordered all elementary schools closed for the summer starting Tuesday, almost a week before the usual debut of vacation.

People in New Delhi are under orders to unplug air conditioners in offices by 6:30 p.m. and not to switch them on in homes till 9:00 p.m.