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Last Updated: Friday, 6 June, 2003, 16:34 GMT 17:34 UK
Indian heat wave starts to ease
An Indian fisherman protects himself from the sun in Bhopal
Little respite is forecast for the north-west of the subcontinent
Temperatures have eased in some parts of India as the nation awaits the arrival of the delayed monsoon season that will end a deadly heat wave.

The worst-hit state of Andhra Pradesh in the south-east has suffered another 56 deaths, taking the death toll there to 1,291, but some parts of the state have seen lower temperatures.

No respite is forecast for Pakistan, however, where the worst heat wave for years has sent temperatures above 51C in some parts.

Some monsoon rains have already hit Bangladesh and north-eastern India, while pre-monsoon showers have also fallen in the southern Indian state of Kerala

Pakistan deaths

Indian meteorological department officials said the showers indicated the monsoon - which normally hits Kerala around 1 June - would arrive in the next two or three days.

"The winds have become more westerly compared to north-westerly earlier and that's a favourable sign," said department deputy director-general, HR Hatwar.

State Relief Commissioner of Andhra Pradesh, DC Roshaiah, said temperatures there had fallen from a peak of 49C to daily highs of 44C, but five of the 23 districts were still reeling from the heat wave

The heat has also killed 70 people in central Pakistan in the past week, Tahir Ali Javed, the health minister of Punjab province, told the Reuters news agency.

Temperatures also remain high in the north-western Indian state of Rajasthan and in Indian-administered Kashmir, where in the winter capital, Jammu, the highest temperature since 1972 - 45.2C - was recorded on Thursday.

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