Indian heatwave kills 500 as temperatures approach 50 degrees

Most of the recorded deaths, primarily from heatstroke and dehydration, have been in rural areas in south

An Indian taxi driver rests in his parked car in Kolkata on Monday. Taxi unions in the city have urged drivers to stay off the roads between 11am and 4pm because of the heat after a driver died in his cab. Photograph: AFP Photo/ Dibyangshu Sarkar

An Indian taxi driver rests in his parked car in Kolkata on Monday. Taxi unions in the city have urged drivers to stay off the roads between 11am and 4pm because of the heat after a driver died in his cab. Photograph: AFP Photo/ Dibyangshu Sarkar

 

More than 500 people are believed to have died in a heatwave in India as temperatures approach 50 degrees in parts of the country.

Allahabad, a city in the north, reached 47.7 degrees on Sunday, according to local media. In Delhi, the capital, a high of 43.5 degrees was recorded.

Most of the recorded deaths, primarily from heatstroke and dehydration, have been in rural areas in the south, where roads and markets were deserted. Authorities announced a compensation equating to €1,400 to relatives of those killed.

The heatwave is forecast to continue for the rest of the month. In the city of Kolkata, in the west, taxi drivers refused to work between 11am and 4pm after a driver died in his cab.

Across the country, there were power cuts as electricity networks sought to fulfil record demand. Shopping centres, which are often air-conditioned and have their own generators, recorded a surge in visitors.–(Guardian service)