New Delhi (CNN)Hundreds of empty plastic jugs wait in rows on the cracked, dry, dusty earth. Hovering expectantly nearby, the residents of Vasant Kunj slum in South Delhi, one of the city’s largest and poorest, stand waiting for a government water tanker to arrive.

It’s been 10 days.

Ten days since they last received a drop of water. For many families, their containers ran out days ago. They are thirsty and dirty.

“It’s very difficult to live like this,” said Fatima Bibi, 30, who is in charge of organizing water for the slum. “Everything comes from this water. Everything. Drinking, cooking, cleaning, washing.”

Ten minutes away are Delhi’s upscale shopping malls, where you can buy a pair of sneakers for $1,000. But in this part of the city, people live in tightly packed corrugated-iron huts. In the 40 C (104 F) heat, it feels like a furnace inside them.

As the tanker rolls into the compound, shouts rise up from the crowd. Men and women sprint forward with green rubber pipes to feed the tanker’s water into their containers.

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