At least 22 people have died from severe heat in east India's state of Orissa as temperatures touched 45 degrees Celsius (113 Fahrenheit) in some areas, local TV said on Tuesday.

Soaring temperatures have affected the region for the past three weeks hitting an average of 40 degrees Celsius (103 Fahrenheit), around 7-8 degrees higher than normal.

Officials said sunstroke has been confirmed as a cause of death for only three people so far, and warned that the intense heat would continue for another four to five days.

All schools in the area have closed a week early for the summer holidays and laborers are only permitted to work in the morning.

People in many areas are facing a shortage of drinking water.

"The north westerly wind pattern is causing these conditions. The huge humidity at the coastal Orissa and dry air in western Orissa is making the situation worse," the local metrological service said.

A similar heat wave killed more than 2,000 people exactly a decade ago.