NEW DELHI — A heat wave has killed at least 1,371 people this week as temperatures soared to almost 117 degrees in India.
Authorities have cancelled doctors' leave and advised people not to head outside in the middle of the day to avoid the worst of the heat. However for many Indians, staying indoors is not an option.
"I get headaches, fever sometimes. But [if I stay indoors] how will I make money?" said Delhi scrap collector Akhlaq, 28.
The death toll in the worst affected states of Andhra Pradesh in the southeast and nearby Telangana is more than double the toll from a shorter hot spell there last year, officials said,
May and June are India's hottest months, with temperatures regularly pushing above 100 degrees. But meteorologists say the number of days when temperatures approach 117 degrees has increased in the past 15 years.
Blamed on dry continental air blowing in from Iran and Afghanistan, the heat wave is forecast to subside later this week before monsoon rains bring relief to parched areas of the east and south.