The average maximum temperature for northwest and central India in April was the highest since records began
122 anni fa, raggiungendo 35.9 e 37.78 gradi centigradi (96.62 e 100 gradi Fahrenheit) rispettivamente, according to the Indian Meteorological Department
Temperatures in India are expected to subside this week, the IMD said, but experts say the climate crisis will cause more frequent and longer heatwaves, affecting more than a billion people across the two countries.
India is among the countries expected to be worst affected by the impacts of the climate crisis, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
“This heatwave is definitely unprecedented,” ha detto il dott. Chandni Singh, IPCC Lead Author and Senior Researcher at the Indian Institute for Human Settlements. “We have seen a change in its intensity, its arrival time, and duration. This is what climate experts predicted and it will have cascading impacts on health.”
Loss of crops
India often experiences heatwaves during the summer months of May and June, but this year temperatures started rising in March and April.
In the northern state of Punjab, conosciuto come “India’s bread basket,” that’s causing heat stress, not only for millions of agricultural workers, but for fields of wheat they rely on to feed their families and sell across the country.
Gurvinder Singh, director of agriculture in Punjab, said an average increase of up to 7 gradi centigradi (44.6 gradi Fahrenheit) in April had reduced wheat yields.
“Because of the heatwave we’ve had a loss of more than 5 quintal (500 chilogrammi) per hectare of our April yield,” Singh told CNN Monday.
Chandni Singh, from the IPCC and no relation to Gurvinder Singh, said agricultural workers were more likely to suffer from the oppressive heat.
“People who work outdoors — agricoltori, those in construction, manual labor — will suffer more. They have less options to cool down and can’t stay away from the heat,” lei disse.
School closures and power cuts
In some parts of India, demand for electricity has led to a coal shortage, leaving millions without power for up to nine hours a day.
La settimana scorsa, coal stocks at three out of the five power plants Delhi relies on to supply its power reached critically low levels, dropping below 25%, according to Delhi’s Power Ministry.
India canceled more than 650 passenger trains through the end of May to clear tracks for more cargo trains as the country scrambles to replenish coal stocks at power plants, a senior official from the country’s Railways Ministry told CNN.
Indian Railways is a key supplier of coal to power plants across the country.
Some Indian states, including West Bengal and Odisha, have announced school closures to deal with the rising temperatures.
“Children who have to traveled to school, many of them are getting nosebleeds, they can’t tolerate this heatwave,” West Bengal’s Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee told reporters last week.
In anni recenti, both the federal and state governments have implemented a number of measures to mitigate the effects of heatwaves, including shutting down schools and issuing health advisories for the public.
But according to Chandni Singh, more should be done to prepare for future heatwaves.
“We don’t have a heat action plan and there are gaps in planning,” Singh said. “You can only adapt so much. This heatwave is testing the limits of human survivability.”