Asian Heat Wave of 2007

"Life has become a hell," says 75-year-old Lachaiah, a villager in the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, which is suffering one of its worst heat waves in recent memory.

"There is no work for farm hands like me. Even if I dare to come out to look for work, there is no guarantee I will return home alive."

More than 1,000 people have died in Andhra Pradesh in the three-week heat wave. Hundreds more have been hospitalised, stretching resources to the limit.

More than two dozen people have died over the last 24 hours in a heatwave that has baked northern India, officials and media reports said on Tuesday, taking the death toll over the last one week to more than 100.

The scalding temperatures have also hit large parts of neighboring Pakistan, killing at least 50 people by Monday.

Most of the dead were homeless people, the elderly and those compelled to work outdoors, hit by sunstroke and dehydration.

The 2007 Asian heat wave affected the South Asian countries of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Nepal, as well as Russia and the People's Republic of China. The heat wave ran during the months of May and June.

Almost over 400 people have died from sunstroke and dehydration in a month-long heat wave sweeping India, Nepal, Pakistan and Bangladesh, as South Asia endures one of its hottest summers on record, authorities said.

Temperatures hit 50 degrees Celsius (122 Fahrenheit) in some parts of South Asia this week, parching fields, emptying dams and drying river beds ahead of the annual monsoon.

Freak weather extended as far as northern China, where the heat set off explosives at a chemical plant in Shanxi province that injured hundreds. In central Chongqing city, authorities opened old bomb shelters so people can cool off.