India’s Heatwaves Are Testing the Limits of Human Survival
Each summer in India is a fresh roll of the dice on whether a freak event will occur that leads to a vast number of deaths.
By Ruth Pollard and David Fickling
May 4, 2022
New Delhi feels like it is on fire. The heat comes off the road in blistering waves, and the water that flows from the cold tap is too hot to touch. Daytime temperatures have hit 44 degrees Celsius (111 Fahrenheit) and often do not fall below 30 in the night. A giant landfill on the outskirts of the capital spontaneously combusted a week ago, and the 17-story high dump that contains millions of tons of garbage continues to smolder, worsening the city’s already dangerously polluted air.
Daily power outages driven by a surge in demand for electricity have resulted in blackouts as long as eight hours in some parts of India, while coal stocks — the fuel that accounts for 70% of the country’s electricity generation — are running low, prompting warnings of a fresh power crisis. The northern wheat crop is scorched. It was the the hottest March in 122 years. Spring just didn’t happen, and those extreme temperatures continued into April and May (though they are predicted to ease this week). Still, it’s not until June that the monsoon is expected to arrive and provide any kind of relief.
Continue reading at www.bloomberg.com
‘We are living in hell’: Pakistan and India suffer extreme spring heatwaves
By Hannah Ellis-Petersen in Delhi
and Shah Meer Baloch in Islamabad
May 2, 2022
For the past few weeks, Nazeer Ahmed has been living in one of the hottest places on Earth. As a brutal heatwave has swept across India and Pakistan, his home in Turbat, in Pakistan’s Balochistan region, has been suffering through weeks of temperatures that have repeatedly hit almost 50C (122F), unprecedented for this time of year. Locals have been driven into their homes, unable to work except during the cooler night hours, and are facing critical shortages of water and power.
Ahmed fears that things are only about to get worse. It was here, in 2021, that the world’s highest temperature for May was recorded, a staggering 54C. This year, he said, feels even hotter. “Last week was insanely hot in Turbat. It did not feel like April,” he said.
As the heatwave has exacerbated massive energy shortages across India and Pakistan, Turbat, a city of about 200,000 residents, now barely receives any electricity, with up to nine hours of load shedding every day, meaning that air conditioners and refrigerators cannot function. “We are living in hell,” said Ahmed.
Continue reading at www.theguardian.com
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