brutal heat ravages the working class of Dhaka

In the grip of a severe heat wave, the city’s workers are among the hardest hit.

Some shops were closed and there were fewer people on the streets as many of them did not come out to avoid the scorching heat wave on Saturday afternoon.

But not all of them had the luxury of being holed up at home with the comforts they could enjoy.

Rickshaw puller Abdul Aziz of Kuril Biswa Road used a traditional bamboo-made conical hat called mathal, which was generally used by farmers in Bangladesh. But the hat can’t protect him as much as he needs. So he was resting under a bridge.

“I take the rickshaw at 8 a.m. and work until 2:30 p.m. I can’t go on any longer in such heat. I think of Allah when I go out. The poor have only Allah to save them,” he said.

Kabir Hossain, a resident of Tejkunipara who works as a delivery boy on a motorcycle, said that although the air was blowing, the heat continued – something he has never experienced.

“Every time I go on the main roads my feet feel burning. A person can know what extreme heat is by going to the main roads. I take water with me and refill the bottle several times,” he said.

Rickshaw puller Zulfiqer Ali was drenched in sweat as he stopped at Moghbazar Chourasta for a cold drink.

“We, the rickshaw pullers, contract diseases due to the heat. And we’re getting too tired. That’s why I drink a lot of water,” he says.

“I had earned Tk 70 from a trip some time ago, and now I spent Tk 30 on this (cold drink). I also drink seven to eight saline solutions (water with powdered saline). But how long can a person drink only saline?

Babul Mia was frying puri in a glass cabinet at the front of the Oriental restaurant in Mohakhali.