Hundreds of Millions Threatened by Heat, the 'Silent Killer'

On a hot, humid afternoon on the outskirts of Bhubaneswar in eastern India, construction worker Sabitri Mahanand frets about increasingly "dangerous" summers. Carrying over a dozen bricks on her head, she fears getting sunstroke while at work, but home offers no respite either.

"When the day's work is over, I'm so exhausted that I often don't want to cook food but I have no choice," said Mahanand, 35, wiping the sweat from her face with a cloth wrapped around her waist. "I have to feed myself, my husband and my son."

The ancient city of Bhubaneswar is the capital of Odisha state - one of the few parts of South Asia that has a heat emergency plan.

Odisha's government departments have been asked to put in place measures in anticipation of heat waves this summer.

The world has already experienced three record-breaking hot years in a row, and the rising global temperature could have profound effects for health, work and staple food supplies for hundreds of millions of people, climate scientists told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Paula Goodale


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