India is in the throes of a blistering heatwave as temperatures continue to soar to unbearable levels in the nation's capital.
In scenes compared to that of a climate disaster novel, the unusually early heatwave is sweeping through regions of south Asia, threatening lives, crops and wreaking havoc with electricity and coal supplies.
Yesterday (28 April), Delhi saw its hottest day in over a decade as temperatures reached a staggering 43.5C - and it's set to get even hotter, with health officials in the western state of Gujarat anticipating a spike in patients getting admitted to hospital.
Manoj Aggarwal, health secretary of the state, told Reuters: “We have issued an advisory to hospitals to set up special wards for heat stroke and other heat-related diseases due to the rise in temperatures."
While extremely high temperatures are not uncommon around this time of year in the region, the weather in recent days has reached particularly dangerous heights and is more widespread than usual, coming off the back of the hottest March in over a century.
Arpita Mondal, Hydroclimatologist at the Indian Institute of Technology, told The Independent: “It is so hot and humid that even if you’re not doing anything, just sitting in one place below the fan or AC, it’s also tiring - it’s that bad.
"It can be fatal for some."
Relentless and punishing heatwave in Pakistan & India is entering the next level.— Scott Duncan (@ScottDuncanWX) April 26, 2022
Sadly, this is just the beginning. Over 1 billion people will endure the excessive heat. Shaded on the map is where we expect over 40° C (104°F).
Some will approach 50°C (122°F). pic.twitter.com/YLRHwpe4mO
According to scientists, more than a billion people are now at risk of heat-related illness, with concerns growing for the elderly and those in poorer communities who have limited access to air con.
Meanwhile, Pakistan’s ministry of climate change has issued a warning in response to the 'unprecedented and alarming' heatwave.
"This is the first time in decades that Pakistan is experiencing what many call a ‘spring-less year’ in March 2022,” federal minister for climate change, senator Sherry Rehman, said.
“South Asia, particularly India and Pakistan, are faced with what has been a record-breaking heatwave. It started in early April and continues to leave the people gasping in whatever shade they find.
"The global weather forecasting organisations have predicted that temperatures in Pakistan and India this year could soar up to 49C to 50C, which is a direct repercussion of climate stress. It has been predicted that temperatures in Pakistan could rise by 6C to 8C above average temperatures.
"People are urged to take precautionary measures to avoid extreme heat,” she concluded.
The India Meteorological Department (IMD) - which yesterday issued an orange alert for four states - has predicted more sweltering heat this coming week, with a gradual rise of around 2-4C expected over the majority of central and north-western India.
In the wake of the potentially fatal weather - which is now creeping towards 50C in some areas - The Ministry of Health is advising residents to stay in doors/in the shade where possible, wear light-coloured, loose fitting clothes and stay hydrated.
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