Some relief came in Hyderabad Wednesday night with light rain
2,330 people have died in three Indian states this week
Hot weather forecast to ease slightly going into the weekend
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Mallayia Baddula sits barefoot beneath the shelter of his hut in Parepally, a small village outside Hyderabad.
He’s 76 years old and mourning the death of his son Venkatesham, who at half his age succumbed to the heat during the recent hot, dry spell.
“He had gone to get some medicine for me,” Baddula told CNN. “I am informed that he died of sunstroke.”
Venkatesham is one of the 70 people who have died in the district of Nalgonda, and one of the 585 deaths recorded in Telangana state.
The 38-year-old was the family’s breadwinner. Now the elderly grandfather will have to find a way to provide for his own wife and two grandchildren – a 13-year-old girl and 8-year-old boy. The children lost their mother several years ago.
The heat wave gripping India has killed 2,330 people, officials announced on Tuesday, as meteorologists warned that monsoon rains could still be days away.
As of Monday, the death toll had risen to 2,330. At least 1,719 people have died in the neighboring state of Andhra Pradesh, along with 26 in Odisha.
The highest maximum temperature recorded on Wednesday was 47 C or 116.6 F, at Daltonganj in eastern state of Jharkhand and Titlagarh in Odisha.
Daytime temperatures were up to 7 C higher than average in coastal areas of Andhra Pradesh State, said meteorological chief B.P. Yadav. However, in coming days, temperatures in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana were expected to fall up to 2 C, he said.
Earlier this week, it got so hot in Delhi that roads started showing signs of melting.
On Wednesday night, a light shower in Hyderabad brought some relief to millions who had been praying for rain. But relief from expected monsoon rains has been delayed. The monsoon was predicted to hit the southernmost coast by June 1, however now forecasters are predicting June 5. So, the worst-hit southern states, Andra Pradesh and Telangana, are not expected to receive monsoon rains for at least another four to five days while the death toll continues to rise.
Throughout Hyderabad, water camps opened, providing free water to anyone who needed a drink.
The worst-hit area is the southeastern state of Andhra Pradesh, where authorities say 852 people have died in the heat wave. Another 266 have died in the neighboring state of Telangana.
People stop by Bai’s stall every two minutes or so, as the temperature rises toward its daily peak, typically in mid-to-late afternoon. On Wednesday, temperatures in Hyderabad hit a high of around 42 degrees C, or around 107 F. At night, the temperature dropped to 30 C or 86 F.
The poor and ill affected most
Temperatures dipped at night, but even then it was uncomfortably hot. On Wednesday night last week, men slept on footpaths and on concrete strips between roads in temperatures of up to 37 C, or 98.6 F.
Two old men were seen sleeping under a flyover, as cars sped by spewing even hotter, polluted air in their direction. Construction workers stretched out on top of huge steel pipes.
Many of those who succumbed to the heat were too poor, frail or ill to cope. The chief secretary of Telangana said many of the deaths in that state could have been avoided if victims had taken “a little more care.”
Asked to explain his comments, B.R. Meena said: “Cover properly, have light color clothes, take umbrella, take care, be in cool area – had they taken such care, this could have been avoided.”
He said people were being urged to use an umbrella, hat or turban, and drink plenty of water and avoid going outside between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m.
CNN’s Mallika Kapur reported from Hyderabad, and Hilary Whiteman wrote from Hong Kong. CNN’s Harmeet Shah Singh, Sugam Pokharel, Omar Khan and Rishabh Pratap also contributed to this report.