The months-long heatwave in India and Pakistan is shattering records and “testing the limits of human survivability,” IPCC Lead Author and Senior Researcher at the Indian Institute for Human Settlements Dr. Chandni Singh told CNN. At least 25 people have died of heatstroke in India’s Maharashtra province, but the actual death toll of the heatwave is almost certainly far higher, experts say. Average April temperatures in northwest and central India were the highest since records began at the beginning of the 19th century. Cities in Pakistan’s southeastern Sindh province hit 117°F (47°C) last week, the highest temperature that day in the Northern Hemisphere.
“We are living in hell,” Nazeer Ahmed of Turbat, Pakistan, where high electricity demand is causing up to nine hours of electricity blackouts every day, told the Guardian. Blackouts in India have also highlighted the country’s need to diversify its power sector, which still relies on coal for 70% of its electricity generation, the AP reports.
“This heatwave is definitely unprecedented,” said Singh, adding the heat had diminished April wheat yields by as much as 445 pounds per acre (500kg/hectare). “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.” (CNN, The Guardian, Axios, CNBC; Deaths: Times of India; Wheat: Bloomberg $; Electricity: Reuters, AP; Climate Signals background: Extreme heat and heatwaves)