Delhi is a city in India (CNN) As the repercussions of the climate catastrophe spread throughout the subcontinent, temperatures in regions of India and Pakistan have hit record highs, putting the lives of millions at danger.
According to the Indian Meteorological Department, the average maximum temperature in northwest and central India in April was the highest since records began 122 years ago, hitting 35.9 and 37.78 degrees Celsius (96.62 and 100 degrees Fahrenheit) respectively (IMD).
According to CNN meteorologists, New Delhi saw seven consecutive days above 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) last month, three degrees above the usual temperature for the month of April. The heat forced schools to close, damaged crops, and put a strain on electricity supply in certain regions, prompting officials to advise inhabitants to stay indoors and drink plenty of water.
According to Pakistan’s Meteorological Department, the cities of Jacobabad and Sibi in the country’s southeastern Sindh province registered highs of 47 degrees Celsius (116.6 degrees Fahrenheit) on Friday, according to data provided with CNN by the country’s Meteorological Department (PMD). This was the hottest temperature ever recorded in any city in the Northern Hemisphere on that day, according to the PMD.
On April 29, people in Lahore, Pakistan, cool off in a canal.
In a statement, Pakistan’s Minister of Climate Change, Sherry Rehman, remarked, “This is the first time in decades that Pakistan is witnessing what many refer to as a’spring-less year.”
Temperatures in India are forecast to drop this week, according to the IMD, but scientists predict that the climate catastrophe will result in more frequent and longer heatwaves, affecting over a billion people in both nations.
According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, India is one of the countries most likely to be affected by the climate catastrophe (IPCC).
Dr. Chandni Singh, IPCC Lead Author and Senior Researcher at the Indian Institute for Human Settlements, remarked, “This heatwave is undoubtedly unusual.” “The strength, arrival timing, and length of the storm have all changed. Climate experts foresaw this, and it would have a cascade effect on health.”
Loss of crops
Heatwaves are common in India during the summer months of May and June, but temperatures began to rise earlier this year in March and April.
This is generating severe stress not just for millions of agricultural labourers in Punjab, known as “India’s bread basket,” but also for the wheat fields they rely on to feed their families and sell throughout the country.
Wheat yields were lowered by an average increase of up to 7 degrees Celsius (12.6 degrees Fahrenheit) in April, according to Gurvinder Singh, Punjab’s director of agriculture.
“We’ve lost more than 5 quintal (500 kilos) per hectare of our April production due to the warmth,” Singh told CNN on Monday.
Agricultural workers, according to Chandni Singh of the IPCC, who is not related to Gurvinder Singh, are more likely to be affected by the terrible heat.
“Those who work outside, such as farmers, construction workers, and manual labourers, would be more affected. They have fewer choices for cooling down and are unable to avoid the heat “she stated
School closures and power cuts
Demand for electricity has resulted in a coal scarcity in some regions of India, leaving millions without power for up to nine hours every day.
According to Delhi’s Power Ministry, coal stocks at three of the five power plants that supply the city’s electricity reached dangerously low levels last week, falling below 25%.
As the government scrambles to replace coal stockpiles at power plants, India has cancelled more than 650 passenger trains through the end of May to make room for more freight trains, according to a top official from the country’s Railways Ministry.
Indian Railways is a major coal supplier to power plants all around the nation.
As a result of the rising temperatures, certain Indian states, such as West Bengal and Odisha, have issued school cancellations.
“Children who have to commute to school, many of them are having nosebleeds,” West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee told reporters last week.
In recent years, both the federal and state governments have taken a variety of steps to alleviate the consequences of heat waves, including closing schools and issuing public health advisories.
However, Chandni Singh believes that more should be done to prepare for future heat waves.
“We don’t have a heat action plan,” Singh added, “and there are planning gaps.” “There is a limit to how far you can adapt. This hot wave is putting human survival to the test.”
This item has been amended to reflect an error in the conversion of Celsius to Fahrenheit.