India sweltering as mercury rises past 50
Authorities have shut schools, sprinkled water in streets and rushed a water train to a parched state in western India where scorching temperatures have reached up to 51C. Several hospitals in the desert state of Rajasthan have set aside beds to treat heatstroke patients. Television footage yesterday showed patients being wheeled in on stretchers, with paramedics covering them with ice packs and pouring water on them in an attempting to bring down body temperatures. Farmers continue to struggle with the drought. JP Gupta, a meteorologist in Lucknow, the capital of northern Uttar Pradesh state, said the heatwave will remain intense until next week, when dust storms may bring relief from soaring temperatures. The main summer months in India - April, May and June - are always excruciatingly hot across most of the country, before monsoon rains bring cooler temperatures.
SUFFERING: A schoolgirl in Jammu, during the heatwave