Heat wave hardest on nation's poorest communities

By JUAN CARLOS LLORCA | July 18, 2011 | 5:14 PM EDT

HORIZON CITY, Texas (AP) — With much of the nation in the grip of a broiling heat wave, few people are hit as hard as the poor. And few places are poorer than the ramshackle communities along the Texas-Mexico border.

In Horizon City in West Texas, the cinderblocks that make up some homes do little to shield people from the triple-digit heat that has been scorching the region. Some houses are without electricity or running water.

Over the last decade, the heat has killed dozens of people living in poverty on the edge of the desert. This year, a task force hopes to distribute fans to the state's 2,500 border villages known as "colonias."

But with triple digit temperatures sometimes lingering for weeks, a fan is often not enough to keep cool.