New Delhi|More than 100 people are feared dead in India in an early-summer heat wave which forced schools to close and halted outdoor work like construction, government officials said on Thursday.
Neighboring Pakistan, which suffered its hottest spell in decades last year, plans to open 500 response centers to provide shelter and cold water to people if a heat-wave warning is issued, a government official said. No heat deaths have yet been reported.
India’s hottest months are May and June, but some states have already registered temperatures in excess of 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit), forcing authorities to take emergency steps.
In the southern Indian state of Telangana, 45 people have died from heat exposure, and another 17 in Andhra Pradesh, officials said. Some 43 were believed to have died in neighboring Odisha, although an official there said each of the deaths was being investigated.
Y.K. Reddy, a director at the Indian Meteorological Department, said Telangana has recorded its highest April temperatures since at least 2006.
Reddy said there were worries the death toll in Telangana could rise and his department was issuing heat-wave warnings to advise people to stay indoors.