The men lay under a tree, the only place protected from the sun. It is 10:30 am, and the thermometer is already showing 41 ° C in Delhi on Thursday, May 19th. They have spent four hours in the fields picking vegetables on the banks of the Yamuna, a river that flows through the Indian capital. Carts are overflowing with cucumbers, female fingers, cantaloupe and other cabbage or zucchini for sale around Delhi.
Immigrants from the states of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and Rajasthan, who have settled with their family on land they have not owned for thirty or forty years. Yamuna coasts, floods, families of 9,300 farmers and horticulturists, more than 46,700 people, living in extreme poverty, in bamboo huts, without electricity and without access to water. In the middle of a Unoccupied land, Crossed by high voltage lines, metro bridges or pillars of road transfers. A kind of underworld, almost invisible.
The Delhi government supplies drinking water to them by tank truck. Painted from the ground, yellow, loaded with heavy metals and other contaminants; It is only good for washing clothes and watering vegetables.
The heat wave that has been hitting northern India since March 11 has affected their production; They usually earn 8,000 rupees (யூ 98) in good months. Men, women, and children suffer from abdominal pain, vomiting, and diarrhea, but they do not complain, and it is surprising to hear from them about the heat wave. “It’s hot this year. But it doesn’t change anything for us. We have nowhere else to go. There is no work in the village.” A farmer explains.
The huts have no windows, just a central opening. The straw roof is covered with plastic sheeting. It has an indoor stove and no electricity to run the fan.
A woman returns from her land carrying a heavy bottle of pumpkin on her head that she is about to sell. Guna Devi earns 200 rupees (2.40 euros) a day. She is making her own plot. If not sold on the same day, she gives her vegetables to the cows. One day, under the heat, they will rot.
On Sunday, May 15, the Indian capital, with a population of over 20 million, set a historic record of 49.2 C with few trees and stations in the most densely populated neighborhoods. Furnace unbearable for people in unsuitable habitats. Elsewhere in the megalopolis, it was 46.7 C. For two months, the air has been hot, dry, and dusty. At night, the thermometer should not drop below 31 degrees Celsius.
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