Dozens more people killed by South Asia heatwave

NEW DELHI Tue Jun 12, 2007 2:36am EDT

A boy jumps as others swim to beat the heat in Dal Lake in Srinagar June 11, 2007. Parts of India are reeling under a heat-wave with temperatures reaching 45 Celsius (113 degrees Fahrenheit) in many places. REUTERS/Fayaz Kabli

A boy jumps as others swim to beat the heat in Dal Lake in Srinagar June 11, 2007. Parts of India are reeling under a heat-wave with temperatures reaching 45 Celsius (113 degrees Fahrenheit) in many places.

Credit: Reuters/Fayaz Kabli

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NEW DELHI (Reuters) - More than two dozen people have died over the last 24 hours in a heatwave that has baked northern India, officials and media reports said on Tuesday, taking the death toll over the last one week to more than 100.

The scalding temperatures have also hit large parts of neighboring Pakistan, killing at least 50 people by Monday.

Most of the dead were homeless people, the elderly and those compelled to work outdoors, hit by sunstroke and dehydration.

But the heatwave's peak had already passed, said S.C. Bhan, director of the Regional Meteorological Centre in New Delhi.

The temperature in the Indian capital reached what was described by newspapers as a "cool" 41.1 degrees Celsius (106 Fahrenheit) on Monday, nearly four degrees lower than Saturday's season high.

"The heatwave will be over today," Bhan said. "Tomorrow should be normal weather for June."

He predicted thunderstorms in the next few days could take the edge off the heat, which had been blown across the region by hot winds from the Thar desert.

More than 100 people have succumbed to the heat in north and central India since the heatwave began at the end of last week, newspapers said, including 62 in Uttar Pradesh state, 36 in the western desert state of Rajasthan and 19 in Punjab.

In New Delhi, police confirmed nine heat-related deaths.

(Additional reporting by a Reuters reporter in Jodhpur)

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