In India and Pakistan, record heat wave and blackouts

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Power outages in India and Pakistan on Friday worsened the living conditions of millions of residents, who have already been overwhelmed for several weeks by a record heat wave that experts have linked to climate change.

A heat wave that erupted several weeks ago in India and Pakistan led to power outages in both countries on Friday, April 29, worsening the living conditions of millions of residents.

The exceptionally hot months in March and April increased the demand for energy in India and especially in Pakistan, so that coal ran out at power plants to meet the demand.

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

“There is an electricity crisis and load shedding across the country,” Energy Minister Khurram Dastgir Khan said, referring to shortages and “technical malfunctions.”

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However, temperatures are expected to be 8°C above the seasonal normal in parts of Pakistan, peaking at 48°C in parts of rural Sindh on Wednesday, according to the Pakistan Meteorological Society.

Possible power outage in Delhi hospitals

Scientists say that due to climate change, heat waves are more frequent but also more intense.

In the Indian capital New Delhi, where the temperature reached 43.5 degrees Celsius on Friday, authorities estimate that there is still “less than a day of coal” in stock at many power plants.

Arvind Kejriwal, Delhi’s chief minister, said “the situation across India is appalling” and warned that hospitals and metros in the capital could be reduced. India has even canceled some passenger trains to speed up the delivery of coal to power stations, according to Bloomberg News.

Coal reserves at Indian power plants have fallen by nearly 17% since the beginning of April, dropping to barely a third of required levels, according to the same source.

Forest fires across the city where the Dalai Lama resides

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,” said Sangeet Bandyopadhyay of the Regional Center of Meteorology.

At this time of year, in the highlands of Himachal Pradesh, rain, hail and even snow fall naturally but for two months it 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 lives.

“Most of these fires are ground fires that have spread through the pine forests, and they are the most exposed,” state forestry chief Ajay Srivastava told AFP. “Firefighting teams are working hard to put out these fires as well as to rescue wild animals,” he added, adding that emergency services had to seek help from local residents.

A thirst-quenching pink elixir

For Muslims observing Ramadan, the heat 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.

A plague for the economy because if “people stay home during the day, we struggle to make a living,” summed up by rickshaw driver, Rameshwar Paswan.

with AFP

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