In India and Pakistan, risks of electricity shortage due to severe heat wave

Blackouts in India and Pakistan on Friday, April 29, worsened the living conditions of millions of residents, already overwhelmed by a record heat wave that experts have linked to climate change.

Rising temperatures in March and April drove up energy demand in India, as well as in Pakistan, so coal is now running out of power plants to meet demand.

Several Pakistani towns experienced blackouts of up to eight hours per day last week, while rural areas suffered half-day blackouts.

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Less than a day of coal in stock in New Delhi

“There is an electricity crisis and decreasing loads all over the country”Pakistan Energy Minister Khurram Dastgir Khan said, referring to the shortage and “technical malfunctions”. Temperatures are expected to exceed the seasonal normal by another eight degrees in parts of Pakistan, peaking at 48 degrees Celsius in parts of rural Sindh on Wednesday, according to the Pakistan Meteorological Society.

Scientists say that due to climate change, heat waves are more frequent but also more intense. In the Indian city of New Delhi, where the temperature reached 43.5 degrees Celsius on Friday, authorities estimate there is still “Less than a day of coal” In stock at many power plants.

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‘The situation across India is appalling’According to Delhi Chief Minister, Arvind Kejriwal, who has warned of possible cuts in hospitals and the capital’s metro. India has even canceled some passenger trains to speed up transporting coal to power stations, according to Bloomberg News. In fact, coal reserves at Indian power plants have fallen by about 17% since the beginning of April, dropping to barely a third of the required levels, according to the same source.

No rain for two months

Firefighters attempt to put out a fire in New Delhi in April 2022.

In Kolkata in eastern India, after a series of illnesses in public transport, sugar-sweetened water was distributed to passengers. Without rain for more than 57 days, Kolkata is in the grip of the longest drought of this millennium.says Sangeet Bandyopadhyay of the Regional Meteorological Centre.

At this time of year, in the highlands of Himachal Pradesh, rain, hail and even snow fall naturally, but for two months, there is not a drop of water and record-breaking temperatures.

As a result, hundreds of fires have reduced pine forests to ash, especially around Dharamsala, the city where the Dalai Lama resides. “Most of these fires are ground fires that spread in pine forests, and they are the most vulnerable to fires.”Head of State Forestry, Ajay Srivastava, explains to Agence France-Presse (AFP). “Firefighting teams are working hard to put out these fires and also to save wild animals”He added, explaining that the relief should ask for the help of the population.

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Closing schools or reducing school hours

For Muslims who fast during Ramadan, the heat has made fasting difficult. As the sun sets, vendors trade in thirst-quenching spirit, a sweet pink elixir that has been popular for generations in the Indian subcontinent to quench thirst.

The heat wave also led to the closure of schools or the reduction of school hours. In Patna, the capital of Bihar state, heat stroke has increased over the past 10 days, as have the number of children suffering from fever, vomiting and diarrhoea.

Authorities ordered courses to end at 10:45 a.m. and recommended not to go out in the afternoon. An epidemic of the economy because if “People stay home during the day, and we struggle to make a living.”summarizes Rameshwar Paswan, a rickshaw driver.

The world with AFP

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