Hottest March in 122 years: Intense heatwave hits India and Pakistan – Panorama – People

People in India and Pakistan suffered from early and severe heat waves. Temperatures in most areas have risen to over 40 degrees. The weather services of the two neighboring countries issued heat alerts. Residents tried to cool themselves in various ways. India has experienced its hottest March since weather records began 122 years ago.

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Sweaty people in New Delhi drink water again and again, sometimes with a refreshing lemon or mango, which they buy at small stalls across the city. Or they quench their thirst with water from clay pots that people put on the street for passersby. Some are increasingly buying watermelons and other fruits. Many tried to protect themselves under shaded cloth and umbrellas and wore light, light-colored clothing.

Such heat is generally not uncommon in South Asia. But this time is happening in the region much earlier than usual, where such high temperatures are often only reached in May and June.

Scientists see cause of heat in climate change

The initial heatwave is a warning sign of what to expect in May and June, said Director Dileep Mavalankar of the Indian Institute of Public Health Gandhinagar. Cold winds from the Arabian Sea are currently not blowing, said meteorologist Sardar Sarfraz in the Pakistani city of Karachi.

According to analysis by Mariam Zachariah and Friederike Otto of Imperial College London extreme heat in India as a result of climate change more often than before. “Before the global temperature rise, we would have experienced the heat India experienced this month about once in 50 years,” said Mariam Zachariah. “Now such events are happening more frequently – roughly every four years. And as long as greenhouse gas emissions are not stopped, such events will occur more frequently.”

Workers try to extinguish a fire at a garbage dump in New Delhi.Photo: AFP/Prakash Singh

The heat that has an impact on agriculture, among others. In the Indian states of Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, the initial heat wave saw wheat yields fall by 10 to 35 percent, reports local newspaper The Economic Times.

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In Delhi, there are traffic jams and crowds of people at metro stations, especially at night. Because those who can afford it spend the hottest hours of the day indoors as much as possible. People prefer to be outside only in the morning or at night. Some are also trying to find cooler places in the mountains.

There have also been recent heat-related fires, for example in landfills in Delhi and in forests in Pakistan. And the meteorological service in Pakistan’s Chitral region near the Afghan border warned of the risk of glacial water eruptions given the rapidly melting snow in the Hindu Kush. He appealed to the public to be vigilant. (dpa)

Cheryl Tenny

"Thinker. Food advocate. Incurable coffee enthusiast. Communicator. Proud student. Zombie buff. Tv fanatic. Extreme troublemaker."

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