Blistering heatwave in India and Pakistan set to intensify with temperatures set to soar to 50C

A blistering heatwave that has baked parts of India and Pakistan for weeks looks set to intensify again with areas potentially breaching 50C in the coming days, the UK’s Met Office has warned.

Temperatures are expected to first peak on Saturday, when the mercury could hit 50C in Jacobabad and the Sibi area of Pakistan, Met Office meteorologist Nick Silkstone said.

“These values are around 5-7C above average for the time of year,” said Mr Silkstone, who works in the global guidance unit.

Temperatures are expected to ease on Sunday and the early part of next week, before trending upwards again to reach similar – or even higher – temperatures the following weekend.

Historic Pakistan bridge collapses amid heatwave

Swathes of India and Pakistan have been sweltering in stifling heat on and off since March, which was the hottest in over 100 years in India.

Last week, India’s Maharashtra state reported that 25 people had died from heat stroke since late March, but the wider toll in that state is likely to be considerably higher if accounting for how the heat exacerbates existing illnesses. There is no country wide official death toll.

People in India who have spoken to The Independent say people are widely suffering from dizziness, diarrhoea and skin rashes. Meanwhile, birds are falling from the sky in western India due to exhaustion and dehydration as the scorching heatwave continues.

The heatwave began on 7 May, with temperatures peaking at 48C in Jacobabad and Sibi in Pakistan, according to the Met Office.

“The extreme heat poses risks for local communities and adds to the threat of wider environmental impacts, such as wildfires and the threat of glacial lakes creating flash flooding events as the ice in front of these lakes gives way due to the extreme heat,” said Mr Silkstone.

Earlier this month, a crucial bridge in Pakistan’s Gilgit-Baltistan region was swept away by water from a glacial lake amid the high temperatures. The bridge was damaged after the Shishper glacier, near Mount Shishpar in the northern part of the country, reportedly started melting due to the heat which led to the floods.

It is too early for scientists to measure the extent to which the heatwave has been fuelled by climate change. But climate scientists have warned that heatwaves are increasing in intensity and frequency in India and across the world due to global heating, mainly caused by burning fossil fuels.

The United Nations landmark climate report published last August found said: “It is virtually certain that hot extremes (including heatwaves) have become more frequent and more intense across most land regions since the 1950s.”

The report said it had “high confidence” that human-induced climate change is the main driver of these changes.

Douglas Mateo

Douglas holds a position as a content writer at Neptune Pine. His academic qualifications in journalism and home science have offered her a wide base from which to line various topics. He has a proficiency in scripting articles related to the Health industry, including new findings, disease-related, or epidemic-related news. Apart from this, Douglas writes an independent blog and assists people in living healthy life.

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