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A heatwave that has killed more than 1,400 people in India is finally abating with the arrival of the first monsoon rains last week.

The state government has set up an expert panel, chaired by C.V.V. Bhadram, director of the Andhra Pradesh meteorologial office in Hyderabad, to identify factors that contributed to the drought and to organise a response to it.

According to several data sources, this summer's drought is the worst for at least 20 years. And satellite data show that more than two-thirds of India's vegetation is under either "severe" or "extreme" drought conditions.

Link to Nature news story

Reference: Nature 423, 673 (2003)