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Heatwave in India passes 50 deg C

NEW DELHI: Temperatures passed 50 deg C in northern India as an unrelenting heatwave triggered warnings of water shortages and heatstroke.

The thermometer hit 50.6 deg C in the Rajasthan desert city of Churu on Saturday, the weather department said.

All of Rajasthan suffered in severe heat with several cities hitting maximum temperatures above 47 deg C.

In May 2016, Phalodi in Rajasthan recorded India's highest-ever temperature of 51 deg C.

The Indian Meteorological Department said severe heat could stay for up to a week across Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh.

Several deaths from heatstroke have already been recorded.

A red alert severe heat warning has been issued in the capital New Delhi as temperatures passed 46 deg C, and residents were advised not to go out during the hottest hours of the day.

Even in the hill state of Himachal Pradesh, where many wealthy Indians go to escape the summer heat, temperatures reached 44.9 deg C in Una.

Several major cities have reported fears of water shortages as lakes and rivers start to dry up.

In the western state of Maharashtra, farmers struggled to find water for thirsty animals and crops.

"We have to source water tankers from nearby villages as water reserves, lakes and rivers have dried up," said Mr Rajesh Chandrakant, a resident of Beed, one of the worst-hit districts.

"Farmers get water only every three days for their livestock."

He added: "We are scared for our lives and livelihood." - AFP

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