PEREPALLY –– Mallayia Baddula sits barefoot beneath the shelter of his hut in Perepally, a small village outside Hyderabad.
He is 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.
“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 eight-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.
At least 1,020 people have died in the neighbouring state of Andhra Pradesh, along with 11 in Odisha, taking the national toll from this heatwave to 1,371.
The highest maximum temperature recorded yesterday was 47 degrees Celsius at Daltonganj in the eastern state of Jharkhand and Titlagarh in Odisha.
Daytime temperatures were up to seven degrees Celsius 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 two degrees Celsius, he said.
Earlier this week, it got so hot in Delhi that roads started showing signs of melting.
Last 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. Yesterday, temperatures in Hyderabad hit a high of around 42 degrees Celsius. At night, the temperature dropped to 30 degrees Celsius.