The scorching India heat wave that has swept over the country for over a week has raised the death toll to more than 1,800 as of Friday.
On Thursday alone, the number of heat-related deaths reached 100 in the southern states of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, the two most affected states, as temperatures peaked to 43 degrees Celsius (more than 109 degrees Fahrenheit). Dehydration and heat stroke are the major causes of death, according to U.S. News and World Report.
The intense heat has also caused widespread water shortage in more than 4,000 villages in the state of Maharashtra, and thousands of water tankers were sent to deliver the much-needed water supply.
To protect themselves from the heat, many people stayed indoors and drank lots of water while others found different ways of keeping cool, such as dipping their bodies in the river and sleeping outdoors and on rooftops at night.
The government has advised people not to venture outdoors during the daytime. If they should go out, they are told to use an umbrella and to cover their heads and bodies to avoid heat stroke.
Sporadic rainshowers fell in different parts of the country, and in some places people felt a bit of relief as heat was reduced by some clouds that formed overhead. In the state of Telangana, light rains brought the temperatures down to 39 degrees Celsius (about 102 Fahrenheit).
"The light drizzle has eased the blistering heat wave," Telangana state official B.R. Meena told the Wall Street Journal.
The heat wave could continue for at least two more days, according to meteorological experts. However, they are hopeful that the pre-monsoon rains forecast to fall over the weekend would help bring down the temperatures some more.
The India heat wave is being driven by Loo winds, hot and dry westerly winds blowing over Pakistan and northern India during summer months. Because India has many densely populated regions, the heat is more intense compared to its neighboring countries.
Benjamin Cook, research scientist from NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, said that climate change is most likely a factor in the scorching heat that is sweeping over India, although more research is needed to determine the extent of its effect, CNN reports.