With temperatures regularly reaching the mid-forties (celsius), South-East Asia and India are currently suffering from one of their worst heat waves in history.

Soaring temperatures have claimed the lives of more than 150 people. Lakes are drying up, causing the large-scale deaths of freshwater fish. Top rice exporter Vietnam has been hit by its worst drought in a century, destroying paddy fields and crop production.

In India, about 330 million people (almost a quarter of the country's population) are now affected by drought, the government estimates. Schools have been closed and outdoor working has stopped.

The United Nations has attributed the heat wave and drought to El Niño. The weather pattern is characterized by unusually warm ocean temperatures in the equatorial Pacific, which can trigger extreme weather in some regions. The current El Niño has been one of the strongest ever.

 A girl carries a metal pitcher filled with water through a field in Latur
A girl carries water through a field in Latur, India
Image: REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui
 Boys cool off under a water fountain on a hot summer evening in New Delhi
Boys cool off under a water fountain in New Delhi, India
Image: REUTERS/Anindito Mukherjee
 Residents hold plastic hoses as they fetch water from a government-run water tanker in Masurdi village, in Latur.
Hoses are used to distribute water from a government-run water tanker in Masurdi village, India
Image: REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui
Children play in mud to cool off on a hot day in New Delhi, India
Children cool off in the mud in New Delhi, India
Image: REUTERS/Anindito Mukherjee
 A woman bathes at a roadside municipal tap in a slum area on a hot summer day on the outskirts of Kolkata
A woman bathes at a municipal tap on the outskirts of Kolkata, India
Image: REUTERS/Rupak De Chowdhuri
 A man walks through a dried-up Sarkhej lake on a hot summer day in Ahmedabad.
A man walks through a dried-up lake in Ahmedabad, India
Image: REUTERS/Amit Dave
A man covers his face as he pushes a bicycle through a dust storm on the banks of the Ganga river in Allahabad, India
A dust storm on the banks of the Ganga River in Allahabad
Image: REUTERS/Jitendra Prakash
 A farmer burns his dried-up rice on a paddy field stricken by drought in Soc Trang province in the Mekong Delta in Vietnam March 30, 2016.
A farmer burns his dried-up rice on a paddy field stricken by drought in the Mekong Delta, Vietnam
Image: REUTERS/Nguyen Huy Kham
 A woman and her son search for fish in the pools created by a drought irrigation system in Soc Trang province in the Mekong Delta, Vietnam March 30, 2016.
A woman and her son search for fish in the pools created by a drought irrigation system in the Mekong Delta, Vietnam
Image: REUTERS/Nguyen Huy Kham
 A man works at a dried up pond at the drought-hit Kandal province, Cambodia, April 26, 2016.
This was once a pond in the drought-stricken Kandal province, Cambodia
Image: REUTERS/Pring Samrang