‘Like frogs in a slowly boiling pot’: How India’s heatwave is only set to get worse

With temperatures in northern India forecast to hit 45C again this week, activists say the country urgently needs new laws to adapt to the changing climate. Stuti Mishra reports from Delhi

Sunday 08 May 2022 16:41 BST
<p>A worker quenches his thirst next to power lines as a heatwave continues to lash Delhi</p>

A worker quenches his thirst next to power lines as a heatwave continues to lash Delhi

Naresh Ahirwar doesn’t stop working when the midday sun beats down on his construction site on the outskirts of Delhi, amid the sustained heatwave conditions that have afflicted northern India for well over a month. The 56-year-old feels like he is going to faint with each heavy load he carries in and out of the half-erected building – yet resting out the afternoon is not an option, even as the mercury soars above 40C.

“Earlier I used to carry everything without any problem – now it feels like every step is a struggle and I am going to die here,” he says. “But people like me working on daily wages don’t have an option [to stop].”

Near the construction site, a shopkeeper who sells earthenware pots shuts down his shop during the afternoon and takes shelter from the scorching sun under the tarpaulin sheet that otherwise serves as his store’s roof, even if it means he will not make enough money to get by.

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