Heatwave wreaks havoc in the Subcontinent
Well, it turns out what Banarama was singing about back in the 80s was right. It’s definitely going to be a Cruel Summer. As forecasted about the heat for this summer, it seems the temperatures are going to be record-breaking.
As a region which is home to 1.5 billion people, such a heatwave which is going to scorch swaths of land in both, India and Pakistan, sounds like the conceived havoc of ‘Global Warming’ is already here.
India already experienced its hottest April in 122 years and for Pakistan, it was the hottest April in 61 years. Jacobabad, which is already the hottest city in the world, saw temperatures rise above 48oC just in April
The heatwave has been very frightening and unprecedented, but Not because of record-breaking temperatures. “It’s unique for three reasons: It arrived very early, covered a massive area in the two countries and stayed on for a long duration …. This is very unusual,” Vimal Mishra, a climate scientist at the Indian Institute of Technology Gandhinagar, said as he talked to CBS news.
Usually, people would seek refuge from the heat during the late nights of nights, but temperatures have not dipped below 30oC in some places. Baking temperatures have forced some local governments to close schools and advise people to stay indoors. But for many millions of farmers, construction workers, day laborer’s and street hawkers who work outdoors and live from hand to mouth, staying indoors is a luxury they can’t afford.
The heat has already taken its toll on Pakistan’s famous mangoes. It is reported that 60% of the mango produce has been affected due to early summers and the lack of water for the fruit to ripe. This will affect the already trade deficit and dollar starved country. With $ 106 million worth of mango exports in 2020-2021, Pakistan will definitely have a difficult time trying to meet up its targets for this year.
Apart from this, the heatwave has had a critical effect on the electricity demand and stress on the power grid has been triggered as outages in Pakistan have lasted up to 12 hours, cutting off power when people need cooling the most.
India and Pakistan are no strangers to extreme temperatures, but the current heat wave stands out for its early season timing, its rapid onset, its extent and its severity.