HYDERABAD: Light rain was yesterday forecast for parts of the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh where an intense heat wave has killed 1,317 people in the past three weeks, officials said.
At least 26 more deaths have been reported today (yesterday) from the state's West Godavari, Khamam and Adilabad districts, said D.C. Rosaiah, relief commissioner in Andhra Pradesh.
Elsewhere in the country, the heat has killed at least 112 people bringing India's national toll to 1,403.
C.V.V. Bhadram, director of Andhra Pradesh's Meteorological Centre here, said the state could expect pre-monsoon drizzles before the weekend was out.
There is definite cloud movement in the Bay of Bengal so we should see light pre-monsoon showers in some parts of the state, said Bhadram.
He cautioned, however, that the monsoon proper was not expected to hit Andhra Pradesh until mid-June.
Scores of poor people have been dying in the state as they brave the blistering heat to work on farms.
State Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu has set up an emergency task force to investigate the reasons for the high death toll, a repeat of last year when 1,037 died in the heat.
Andhra Pradesh has one of the highest concentrations of India's poorest people. Almost 12 million people live below the government-designated poverty line.
Yesterday, the north eastern states of Assam, Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh were drenched, while weather officials reported limited showers in parts of south western Kerala state.
The monsoon rains, which traditionally hit Kerala on June 1, have been delayed by a week this year. AFP