Hydrabad, India (BBN)-Mallayia Baddula sits barefoot beneath the shelter of his hut in Perepally, a small village outside Hyderabad.
He’s 76-years old and mourning the death of his son Venkatesham, who at half his age succumbed to the heat during the recent hot, dry spell, reports CNN.
“He had gone to get some medicine for me,” Baddula told CNN. “I am informed that he died of sunstroke.”
Venkatesham is one of the 70 people who have died in the district of Nalgonda, and one of the 340 deaths recorded in Telangana state.
The 38-year old was the family’s breadwinner. Now the elderly grandfather will have to find a way to provide for his own wife and two grandchildren — a 13-year-old girl and 8-year-old boy. The children lost their mother several years ago.
“Now I have to look after my family. Only God knows how will I do it,” he said.
MORE THAN 1,400 DEAD
At least 1,020 people have died in the neighboring state of Andhra Pradesh, along with four in Odisha, taking the national toll from this heat wave to 1,424.
The highest maximum temperature recorded on Wednesday was 47 C or 116.6 F, at Daltonganj in eastern state of Jharkhand and Titlagarh in Odisha.
Daytime temperatures were up to 7 C higher than average in coastal areas of Andhra Pradesh State, said meteorological chief B.P. Yadav. However, in coming days, temperatures in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana were expected to fall up to 2 C, he said.
Earlier this week, it got so hot in Delhi that roads started showing signs of melting.
On Wednesday night, a light shower in Hyderabad brought some relief to millions who had been praying for rain.
Throughout the city, water camps have opened up to help commuters stay cool.
Amruta Bai works at one such stall, and has been constantly refilling plastic cups with water that’s free for anyone to drink.
People stop by Bai’s stall every two minutes or so, as the temperature rises toward its daily peak, typically in mid-to-late afternoon.
On Wednesday, temperatures in Hyderabad hit a high of around 42 degrees C, or around 107 F. At night, the temperature dropped to 30 C or 86 F.
THE POOR AND ILL AFFECTED MOST
During the day, India’s homeless try to find shelter. But in Delhi on Wednesday night, many were seen sleeping on footpaths, and on the concrete strips between roads.
Even at night, when CNN’s Omar Khan took these photos, the temperature ranged from between 35 and 37 C, or 95 to 98.6 F.
Two old men were seen sleeping under a flyover, as cars sped by spewing even hotter, polluted air in their direction. Construction workers stretched out on top of huge steel pipes.
Many of those who have succumbed to the heat were too poor, frail or ill to cope. The chief secretary of Telangana said many of the deaths in that state could have been avoided if victims had taken “a little more care.”
Asked to explain his comments, B.R. Meena said: “Cover properly, have light color clothes, take umbrella, take care, be in cool area — had they taken such care, this could have been avoided.”
He said people were being urged to use an umbrella, hat or turban, and drink plenty of water and avoid going outside between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m.