India's heat waves, power outages testing the limits of human survival

Multiple regions of India have already been edging close to critical wet-bulb temperatures over the past week

water shortage, heatwave

Just 12% of India’s 1.4 billion citizens have access to air conditioning, which means hundreds of millions of people are simply unable to cool themselves when their bodies reach the point of heatstroke.

New Delhi feels like it is on fire. The heat comes off the road in blistering waves, and the water that flows from the cold tap is too hot to touch. Daytime temperatures have hit 44 degrees Celsius (111 Fahrenheit) and often do not fall below 30 in the night. A giant landfill on the outskirts of the capital spontaneously combusted a week ago, and the 17-story high dump that contains millions of tons of garbage continues to smolder, worsening the city’s already dangerously polluted air. 
Daily power outages driven by a surge in demand for electricity have resulted in blackouts as long as eight hours in some parts of India, while coal stocks — the fuel that accounts for

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First Published: May 04 2022 | 7:18 AM IST

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