HYDERABAD, India -- More than 750 people -- with some reports of more than 1,000 -- have died in southern India since the middle of April as soaring summer temperatures scorch the country, officials said Tuesday.
The southeastern states of Andhra Pradesh and Telengana have been hit the hardest.
More than 550 people have died from the unrelenting heat in Andhra Pradesh since May 13, state Deputy Chief Minister Nimmakayala Chinna Rajappa said.
A top state official in Telangana, Bhambal Ram Meena, said about 215 heat-related deaths have been reported since April 15.
Daily temperatures in both states have hit between 45 and 48 degrees Celsius (113 and 118 degrees Fahrenheit). Officials have urged people to stay hydrated and remain indoors as much as possible.
Blistering hot, dry winds have also swept across most parts of north and central India, wilting plants and forcing people to avoid the outdoors. In the cities, large crowds of office workers gather around stalls selling cold fruit drinks.
Weather officials say the sweltering temperatures are likely to continue in southern India for at least another week. Monsoon rains, expected to arrive in the southern state of Kerala in the first week of June, should bring some respite. The monsoon season runs through September as the rains gradually cover the entire country.