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Unrelenting heat claims at least 135 lives nationwide in India

NEW DELHI, April 13 (Xinhua) -- Unrelenting heat in eastern Indian state of Odisha has claimed 24 more lives, bringing the total number to 135 nationwide, officials said Wednesday.

The deaths were caused due to sunstroke triggered by heatwave in the state.

"Special Relief Commissioner's office said that it has so far received complaints of 24 deaths due to sunstroke," an official said.

On Tuesday, the day temperature in the state was recovered over 40 degrees Celsius at 19 places.

Titilagarh town recorded the highest temperature with 44.5 degree Celsius.

Officials said the usual April rains have been delayed in the states under intense grip of heat, pushing mercury upwards.

Temperatures have risen unusually in the first week of April with several parts of the country recording deviations of more than 5°C.

Last week officials said heatwave in two southern states of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh killed at least 111 people.

Weather officials attribute the early onset of heat to after-effects of the weather phenomenon El Nino (an irregularly occurring and complex series of climatic changes) that caused poor monsoon last year.

On Tuesday Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) predicted the country would receive good rainfall this year.

According to the department, the southwest monsoon rainfall will be above normal in 2016.

The El-Nino conditions according to IMD, are likely to weaken later this month, which is good for monsoon.

Indian agriculture is mainly dependent on monsoons. The information from IMD has come as a harbinger of hope for farmers in several states that are facing severe drought and acute shortage of water.

Temperatures have risen unusually in the first week of April in several parts of the India including Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, parts of Odhisa, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, eastern Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal.

The authorities have ordered closure of schools in several parts and advised people to avoid exposure to the sun during the afternoon.

Two successive poor monsoons have triggered drought like situation in the western state of Maharashtra's Marathwada region causing scarcity of drinking water and failure of crops.

Officials say dams in the region are left with just 5 percent of water ahead of the summer season.

The authorities on Tuesday brought half a million litres of drinking water to the worst affected Latur in Maharashtra using special train.

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