A fierce heat wave has killed more than 1,400 people in India in the past month. Temperatures have soared up to 48C (118.5F).

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Children wait to fill containers with drinking water from a tanker provided by the Delhi Water BoardAnindito Mukherjee/Reuters
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A man sleeps under the shade of a tree in a park in New DelhiAnindito Mukherjee/Reuters
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People catch fish in a shrunken pond in the village of Phaphamau on the outskirts of AllahabadSanjay Kanojia/AFP
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Sheep cross the bed of a dried-up pond on a hot summer day on the outskirts of New DelhiAnindito Mukherjee/Reuters

Meteorological officials said the heat would likely last several more days – scorching crops, killing wildlife and melting city roads.

Most of the heat-related deaths have occurred in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh, with most of the victims either elderly or labourers suffering sunstroke or dehydration.

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A man shows a photograph of a relative whose death was attributed to heatstroke in Hyderabad in the southern Indian state of Andhra PradeshNoah Seelam/AFP

Authorities have cancelled doctors' leave and advised people not to go outside in the middle of the day to avoid the worst of the heat, but staying indoors is not an option for many. Among the most vulnerable are the elderly and the poor, with no access to air conditioners or sometimes even shade-giving trees.

The heatwave has exposed India's lack of basic infrastructure. One-third of its 1.2bn population still does not have access to power, and water is also short in supply. The Delhi government says it has already halved the price of electricity and made water free, but upgrading infrastructure is a long-term challenge.

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A child pours water on himself as he tries to cool off in New DelhiMoney Sharma/AFP
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A passenger bathes his child using a pipe that supplies water to trains at a railway station in the northern Indian city of AllahabadJitendra Prakash/Reuters
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A girl cools off under a broken water pipe on the outskirts of AhmedabadAmit Dave/Reuters
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A man fills a container with water from a tanker in Gurgaon on the outskirts of New DelhiChandan Khanna/AFP
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A vendor sells blocks of ice from a bicycle in AmritsarNarinder Nanu/AFP
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A man sleeps in the shade of a barrier on the roadside during a hot day in AllahabadSanjay Kanojia/AFP
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Homeless men rest under trees on a hot summer day in AllahabadSanjay Kanojia/AFP
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A man tends his cattle at water hole on the outskirts of HyderabadNoah Seelam/AFP

Newspapers have reported on the heatwave with headlines saying: "Homeless bake in tin shelters" and "Birds and animals drop dead".

People have taken to using handkerchiefs and scarves to block searing winds and stifling air from their faces.

Across the country, teenagers flocked to lakes and rivers to cool off.

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Motorcyclists use various methods of protection against summer temperatures as they travel along the streets of AmritsarNarinder Nanu/AFP
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Children protect themselves from the heat as they return from school on a hot afternoon in Faridabad, on the outskirts of New DelhiMoney Sharma/AFP
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Boys jump into the waters of the Sabarmati river to cool off themselves on a hot summer day in AhmedabadAmit Dave/Reuters
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A boy somersaults as he cools off in the Ganges in AllahabadJitendra Prakash/Reuters
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A boy jumps into a well built inside the shrine of Sufi Saint Nizamuddin Auliya in New DelhiAdnan Abidi/Reuters
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Children play in a pond near India Gate amid soaring temperatures in New DelhiSajjad Hussain/AFP
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A youth stands under a fountain near India Gate in New DelhiSajjad Hussain/AFP
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A mahout splashes water on his elephant in the Sabarmati river in AhmedabadAmit Dave/Reuters

The high demand for electricity is outstripping the supply and causing power cuts that are exacerbating the situation. Almost all of India has been witnessing power cuts lasting for hours on end.

May and June are India's hottest months, with temperatures regularly pushing above 40C. But meteorologists say the number of days when temperatures approach 45C has increased in the past 15 years.

Cooling monsoon rains are expected to arrive next week in the southern state of Kerala and gradually advance north in the coming weeks.