The unprecedented heat wave that has gripped India and Pakistan has continued, with almost 100 million people forced to live at temperatures that are beyond their ability to survive. The sole ray of hope is the arrival of the monsoons.

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India heatwave 2022 map

Temperatures in different parts of India and Pakistan have been much higher than the national average for several days or weeks. While these events are becoming more intense, what is most concerning is how long they will last. The societal ramifications are significant, and there is a genuine danger that the temperature may become too low to support life. Heat waves at these periods of the year are common, but the length of the present one is unusually long; climate change is likely to have had a role.

According to the World Meteorological Organization of the United Nations, temperatures in India and Pakistan are rising "In accordance with what may be anticipated in a changing climatic environment. Heat waves are becoming more frequent and powerful, and they are beginning sooner than in the past." Climate change, it is predicted, would amplify and extend these heat waves throughout time, causing them to become more frequent and severe.

Temperature nearly 50 degree

The regions most hit by this heat wave include northern and central India, as well as south-eastern Pakistan. However, it is the length of the heat wave more than its severity that is causing concern: this condition has been in place since March, and it was followed by the warmest April on record for northern and central India in April. As a result, the heat is projected to persist for at least another three weeks, with a fresh round of intensification beginning this weekend.

"Francesco Nucera of 3B Meteo told Today that the high temperatures are expected to spread throughout most of India during the next week, with temperatures reaching 45-48 ° C, if not more, between Pakistan and Rajasthan, according to the forecast. On May 1st, temperatures reached 49.5 degrees Celsius in Nawabshah, 49.0 degrees Celsius in Jacobabad, 48.0 degrees Celsius in Pad Idan, 47.2 degrees Celsius in Khanpur and Banda, and 47.1 degrees Celsius in Bikaner ".....

"High temperatures exceeding 40 ° C are routinely attained during this time in certain locations, and heat waves precede the monsoon season (which then generally tends to cool them down)," Nucera explained: "Heat waves precede the monsoon season (which then usually tends to calm them down). In normal conditions, they may reach temperatures of about 50 degrees Celsius, if not more, during the most severe heat waves. For example, the highest temperature ever recorded in Pakistan was 53.5 degrees Celsius in 2010, while the lowest temperature ever recorded in India was 51 degrees Celsius in 2016. When the European Space Agency (ESA) conducted a reconnaissance of the earth at the end of April, the temperature reported from the ground topped 60 degrees Celsius in many locations.

In Europe such a temperature is unimaginable

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Particularly for Europeans, it is impossible to even contemplate living in temperatures approaching 50 degrees for weeks at a time, in temperatures that are high even at night, and maybe without air conditioning. It is impossible to imagine a scenario like to this in Italy or anywhere else in Europe. In addition to having a different temperature than the United States, the South Asian area has distinct living conditions: according to the World Economic Forum, just 7 percent of Indian households had an air conditioner in their home in 2019. It is true that temperatures exceeding 40 degrees Celsius were recorded in Italy at various times, but these were sporadic and non-continuous episodes (occurring under a variety of conditions): "- According to Nucera, the combination of intense heat and temperature-humidity in India and Pakistan is far superior to that in Italy. However, even the temperatures are much greater than in our country. India and Pakistan are tropical climatic zones, and they begin the day with temperatures that are greater than ours. The heat values are quite near to the "tolerance threshold" of the human body, and the humidity levels in certain parts of India are very high, as well ".....

Because of the presence of humidity, the impression of temperature is greatly influenced: "For example, the air temperature at Diamond Harbor, a few kilometers south of Calcutta, is now 34 degrees Celsius, but the humidity is 87 percent, resulting in an index of heat of 57 degrees Celsius. It's as if the temperature in Italy were 41 degrees Celsius with a humidity of 45 percent. Most of the time, when the temperatures in Italy are high, the humidity level is low as well. The reality is that in India and Pakistan, the combination of high temperatures and high humidity lasts for days and days, without interruption, even at night, and the human body is constantly'stressed,' posing a threat to human health in the process. Because not everyone has access to air conditioning, and because of the high demand for power, blackouts occur. Italy's climate is difficult to imagine, even during the summer heatwaves when there may be sultry days, but they are only for brief periods of time and do not achieve the combination of temperature and humidity that is required ".....

Human limits against heat

A limit to the human body's ability to endure extreme temperatures exists; in India and Pakistan, this limit is approaching. National Geographic lead cartographer Joshua Stevens believes that more than 100 million people presently reside in the ten warmest cities in India.
It is dependent on the timing, intensity, and duration of heat exposure that the effects of heat on the human body are felt. Because of their age, health, and economic circumstances, those who are most exposed are also the most vulnerable. For the first time in recent history, India and Pakistan are dangerously near to a temperature threshold that is deadly to the human body. This is measured by the "Wet bulb temperature," which is the temperature that a thermometer wrapped in a wet cloth would attain. On the surface, the temperature attained by air due to evaporative cooling is comparable to the temperature sensed by the skin while the skin is in motion, which is why it is referred to as "wet bulb temperature." At the moment, we have wet bulb temperatures in India that are close to 35 degrees Celsius.

The World Health Organization (WHO) keeps a careful eye on the situation in South Asia and has identified the following as the most serious health implications of the heat (but not only):

*A quick increase in temperature compromises the body's capacity to control its temperature, resulting in a variety of health concerns such as muscular spasms, hyperthermia, and what is popularly referred to as "heat stroke."

*Deaths and hospitalizations caused by excessive heat can occur extremely quickly or have a delayed effect, causing worsening of conditions in more frail people rather than death or illness in the already frail, as has been observed in recent heatwaves, particularly in the first few days of a heatwave. Increases in sickness and fatalities are connected with even little deviations from seasonal mean temperatures, according to the research. Chronic conditions such as cardiovascular, respiratory, and cerebrovascular diseases as well as diabetes-related conditions can all be exacerbated by high temperatures

*In addition, heat can have significant indirect health consequences, such as altering human behavior, increasing the transmission of disease, degrading air quality, and negatively impacting critical social infrastructure such as energy and water supply systems.

The social consequences of heatwave

Punjab, a northern Indian state, is regarded as "the bread basket of India" because it produces approximately a fifth of all Indian wheat, a tenth of all rice output, and the majority of the country's cotton. It is very hot in Punjab, which is producing issues for the millions of agricultural laborers who are there, as well as for the crops that they depend on to feed their family and the rest of the country. According to Gurvinder Singh, the agricultural manager in Punjab, an average temperature spike of 7 degrees Celsius occurred in the area, resulting in lower wheat crop yields: "As a result of the heat wave, we saw a loss of more than 5 quintals per hectare in our April production," Singh stated.

Demand for power in certain regions of India has resulted in a scarcity of coal (which provides 44 percent of the country's energy demands), resulting in millions of people going without electricity for up to nine hours a day in some areas. Coal inventories at three of India's five power plants reached dangerously low levels last week, prompting the government to cancel more than 650 passenger trains till the end of May in order to make more room for freight trains. products in order to feed the power plants

Because of the increasing heat, certain Indian states, notably West Bengal and Odisha, have ordered school cancellations. Mamata Banerjee, the premier of West Bengal, told reporters last week that "many youngsters who have to go to school get nosebleeds because they can't withstand this scorching weather."

How to survive heatwave

Recent years have seen a variety of initiatives from both the federal and state governments to alleviate the consequences of heatwaves, including the closure of schools and the distribution of timely notifications to ensure that individuals are well prepared. In recent years, India has had hundreds of heat wave casualties, and in some years, thousands of heat wave victims. Since 2010, more than 6,500 individuals have perished as a result of excessive temperatures. Since 2015, the Indian government has established an action plan, which is being implemented at the local level in accordance with the demands of the different communities.

The territories are more reactive than in the past and the guidelines have made it possible to reduce mortality. Among other things, the Indian government's action plans to mitigate the negative effects of the heat on the population include:

*Rescheduling of working hours, especially for those who work outdoors;

*Creation of kiosks for drinking water;

*Supply of water by tankers; 

*Construction of hospitality houses;

*Strengthening of health facilities; 

*Storage of rehydration kits in health centers; 

*Placement of cooling systems and construction of shelters;
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