Residents of China flee from the heat in bomb shelters

Shelters built in anticipation of World War II are used to escape the heat.

Chinese people escape the heat in bomb shelters

Residents of China escape from the heat in bomb shelters

Cities across China are offering residents to escape the heat by relaxing in converted bomb shelters.

According to Beijing, the air temperature has exceeded 35 degrees for more than nine days. The last time such heat was observed in China was in 1961. The heatwave in Beijing has killed at least two people and authorities have suspended all outdoor work. Last Thursday the air temperature exceeded 40 degrees. China is not alone in the fight against high temperatures: in recent weeks, the planet has experienced the highest air temperature on record.

To help residents escape the sweltering heat, some Chinese cities have converted old bomb shelters into public spaces, where people can cool off. First built before World War II, these huge underground spaces are equipped with Wi-Fi, restaurants and air conditioning.

These converted spaces look more like shopping malls than rooms designed to keep citizens safe in the event of a nuclear war.

Heat shelters also made headlines last year, and the practice has spread beyond China's oven cities.

The summer is getting hotter every year. China's kiln cities are one model of humanity's uncertain future: living underground in climate-controlled spaces originally designed to protect people from a nuclear holocaust.

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