Tue May 26, 2015 12:30PM (presstv.com)

The death toll from a major heatwave sweeping across India has hit 800 as temperatures are forecast to approach 50 degrees Celsius (122 Fahrenheit) in the coming days.

Hospitals across India were on alert to treat the victims of heatstroke, and officials advised people to stay indoors with no end in sight to the searing temperatures.

“As of now, we don’t predict any respite from the extreme heatwave for the next few days,” spokesman for India’s Meteorological Department B. P. Yadav said.

At least 551 people have died in the past week in Andhra Pradesh State, the worst-hit state in southern India. Streets were completely deserted in the provincial capital, Hyderabad.

“The state government has taken up education programs through television and other media to tell people not to venture into the outside without a cap, to drink water and other measures,” said P. Tulsi Rani, the special commissioner for disaster management in the state.

“We have also requested NGOs (non-governmental organizations) and government organizations to open up drinking water camps so that water will be readily available for all the people in the towns,” he added.

People in the Indian capital, New Delhi, also continue to suffer the sweltering heat as temperatures neared 50 degrees Celsius (122 Fahrenheit).

The high-circulation daily Hindustan Times ran a front page picture showing a main road in the city melting in the heat, with the white stripes of the intersection curling into the black asphalt.

There are increasing concerns over potential power cuts as people in many parts of India have their air conditioners working overtime.

Businesses in New Delhi are running slowly, said the owner of a food shop, regretting that very few people venture out in the furnace-like conditions.

MS/KA/HJL

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