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Heat Wave Causes 400 Deaths in India - 2003-05-27

Intense heat has claimed the lives of nearly 400 people in India.

A heat wave began sweeping Andhra Pradesh state two weeks ago, when temperatures in some regions topped 47 degrees Celsius. Coastal regions were hit the worst.

"For couple of days coastal Andhra Pradesh recorded [temperatures] as high as seven to 10 degrees above normal," said Onkari Prasad, director of the Indian Weather Department.

Most of the victims are poor people living in shanty towns. Hundreds of people have been admitted to hospitals suffering from dehydration and sunstroke.

A similar heat wave swept the state last year, killing more than 1,000 people.

Forecasters say monsoon rains are likely to strike the region next week, bringing respite from the heat.

Most of India experiences an intense summer from April to July, with temperatures in many areas topping 40 degrees Celsius.