India and Pakistan suffocate in record heat

Power outages in India and Pakistan on Friday worsened the living conditions of millions of residents, who have already been weathered by a record heat wave that experts have linked to climate change. Unusually hot March and April have boosted energy demand in India, and especially in Pakistan, where coal is now running out for 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. “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 rise 8 degrees above the seasonal normal in parts of Pakistan, peaking at 48 degrees in parts of rural Sindh on Wednesday, according to the Pakistan Meteorological Society.

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“disastrous situation”

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 “less than a day’s worth of coal” in 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.

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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.

forests in ash

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 naturally fall, but for two months it has not been a drop of water and the temperatures are breaking records.

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.

pink elixir

For Muslims who celebrate Ramadan, the heat hurts fasting. 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 classes 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.

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