Poor workers bear the brunt of India's heatwave

STORY: Large parts of India are anticipating more days of brutal heat - with temperatures expected to blow past records.

This unprecedented heatwave has meant the vast majority of the country's poor workers who tend to labor outdoors - are exposed to scorching temperatures.

For construction worker Yogendra Tundre - life at a building site on the outskirts of the Indian capital New Delhi - is hard enough:

"There are a lot of issues. Our work efficiency has decreased because of the high temperatures. There is weakness in the body and because of that we need to rest for one to two days. There is too much heat and if we don't work, what will we eat? For a few days, we work and then we sit idle for a few days because of tiredness and heat."

Temperatures in New Delhi have hit sweltering numbers - often causing Tundre - and his wife Lata - who work at the same construction site to fall sick and for them, sick days mean no income.

"Because of the heat, sometimes I don't go to work. I take days off... I often fall sick from dehydration and then I need glucose bottles through an IV.”

India suffered its hottest March in more than 100 years and parts of the country experienced their highest temperatures on record in April.

Scientists have linked the early onset of an intense summer to climate change - and say more than a billion people in India and neighbouring Pakistan are in some way at risk from the extreme heat.

Even after Tundre and Lata finish their day's work, their home is boiling with their two young children in a slum just outside of New Dehli.

"It is very hot here. How can one live peacefully? There is no resting - It's only pain and misery. We get off at around 5 p.m. from work but it is so hot, there is a tin roof which gets extremely hot, we come here and it is too hot so it's very tough. There are only problems and problems here.”

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has called on state governments to draw up measures to mitigate the impact of the extreme heat.

Meanwhile it's taking a wider toll on India’s ability to produce food. The country banned exports of wheat on Saturday - days after saying it was targeting record shipments this year. The scorching heat wave has cut into its wheat output and prices inside India are soaring.

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