A third of the world's land is deserted, mostly hot, dry deserts in which life has little to no chance of surviving. These deserts are some of the hottest places in the world. A good example is El Azizia, in northern Africa, which recorded 150°F (66°C) in 1922. Scientists believe this is not, in fact, the hottest place in the world, but it's certainly the hottest where humans have ever set foot. Death Valley, encompassing a good portion of both Nevada and California, is a close competitor, with temperatures reaching 134°F (56.6°C) on more than one occasion.
Libya, where El Azizia is located, is one of the hottest places in the world due to a burning sandy wind called ghibli, which often appears without warning and can raise the temperature by 68°F (20°C) in just a couple of hours.
Of all inhabited areas, some of the hottest include Mali and Tunisia, where temperatures routinely reach 130°F (54.4°C) and air conditioning is a luxury than only the rich can afford. Deaths due to heat and lack of drinking water are frequent, and illnesses that thrive in hot weather are also commonplace.
Outside of Africa, near the top of the list is the Tirat Tavi area in Israel, where average summer temperatures reach 117°F (47.2°C). In the US, eight of the top ten hottest places are in Arizona, with Avondale taking first place at 107.6°F (42°C).
Death Valley also holds the record for being one of hottest locations for the longest period. For 43 consecutive days between 6 July and 17 August 1917, Death Valley temperatures stayed over 120°F (48°C).
According to experts, surviving extreme heat is much harder than surviving extreme cold. While the body can adjust to very low temperatures by requiring more calories, dehydration and heat stroke are very serious problem that can cause death within a matter of hours. During the 2003 European heat wave, about 50,000 people died, extensive fires burned down 10% of Portugal's forests, and caused Switzerland's glaciers to melt and produce numerous avalanches and flash floods across the country.