City endures India’s hottest day on record as drought tightens its grip

A city in western India has endured the country’s hottest day — a scorching 51C (123.8F). Phalodi, in the western state of Rajasthan, baked under record temperatures amid a devastating heatwave. It beat the previous high of 50.6C (123F), reached in 1956 in the city of Alwar, which is also in Rajasthan. Authorities have issue a severe heat wave alert for the next two days in the western states of Gujarat, Rajasthan and parts of the central Madhya Pradesh. The areas can expect temperatures as high as 47 degrees Celsius (116.6F) or more.

Bore wells as deep as 500 meters (1,640 feet) have all gone dry. The underground water level has dropped so much that there is no water at all

Village headman Nana Berde

Burning sun and increasing heat are features of the run-up to the monsoon season but weeks of but life-threatening temperature levels topping 50C are unusual. This summer, the heatwave has claimed dozens of lives in the south Indian states of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. Farmers complain of crops failing and village wells are drying up. Last month, millions of litres of water was shipped into the worst-hit regions by train. Relief from the heat is only expected with the arrival of the monsoon, normally in mid-June.

Constant failure of crops. Very low produce. He couldn’t recover the investments, could not pay back the bank loans. That’s why he killed himself

Umesh Pandit Agee says his farmer brother Srikrishna killed himself because of the drought