Parts of India and Pakistan are experiencing significant temperature rises and endangering millions of lives. This phenomenon is the impact of the climate crisis.
According to the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD), throughout April, the average maximum temperature in northwest India reached 35.9 Celsius. While the northern part of India even reached 37.78 degrees Celsius.
This has an impact on the closure of schools, crop failure, and the decline in coal stocks. The Indian government has closed schools and asked its citizens to stay indoors to avoid dehydration.
In recent years, both the federal and state governments of India have implemented a number of measures to mitigate the impact of heatwaves. But according to IPCC Lead Author and Senior Researcher at the Indian Institute of Human Settlements, Chadni Singh, more needs to be done to prepare for future heatwaves.
“You have to adapt as much as possible. This heatwave is testing the limits of human survival. Moreover, India has no plans to deal with a long-term heatwave and there is a gap in planning,”Singh said as quoted by CNN, Tuesday (May/4/2022).
So far, India’s Ministry of Electricity says coal stocks at three of the five power stations that Delhi relies on to supply electricity have fallen below 25 percent.
India canceled more than 650 passenger trains until the end of May to prioritize cargo trains. The reason is, that India is currently struggling to replenish coal stocks in power plants.
Apart from school closures and loss of coal stocks, India has also experienced crop failures. Northern Punjab, known as the “breadbasket of India” has seen an average temperature increase of up to 7 degrees Celsius and has had an impact on grain yields.
“Due to the heatwave, we lost more than 5 quintals (500 kilograms) per hectare of our April crop,”Singh said.
Chandni Singh said farm workers were more likely to suffer from the scorching heat.
“People who work outdoors such as farmers, construction workers, manual laborers — will suffer more. They have fewer options to cool off and can’t escape the heat,”He said
During April, New Delhi experienced temperatures above 40 degrees Celsius for seven consecutive days. That is, it is three degrees above the April average.
Not only India, Pakistan, and the cities of Jacobabad and Sibi in Sindh Province also experienced heatwaves of up to 47 degrees Celsius.
“This is the first time in decades Pakistan is experiencing what many call a ‘year without spring’,”said Pakistan’s Minister of Climate Change, Sherry Rehman.
“This heatwave is truly unprecedented,” “We’ve seen changes in intensity, arrival time, and duration. This is what climate experts predict and will have a gradual impact on health,”said Dr. Chandni Singh.