India and Pakistan swelter, Bangladesh braces for cyclone - GulfToday

India and Pakistan swelter, Bangladesh braces for cyclone


A labourer drinks water from a pipe at a brick kiln on a hot summer day in Sukkur, Sindh province, on Friday. AFP

South Asia is experiencing extreme weather conditions, with at least nine killed due to a suspected heat stroke in India's west, while parts of Bangladesh and neighbouring states are likely to be hit by a cyclone in a couple of days.

Reuters quoted a team of international scientists as saying that extreme temperatures throughout Asia last month were made worse most likely as a result of human-driven climate change.

India's summer temperatures often peak in May, but scientists have predicted more heatwave days than usual this year, largely caused by fewer non-monsoon thunder showers and an active but weakening dry El Nino weather phenomenon.

Nine deaths in India's north-west

At least nine deaths in Rajasthan in India's north-west were suspected to have resulted from people falling sick in the sweltering heat, local media said.

The state's disaster management officials told Reuters they had yet to ascertain the cause, as medical examinations were not complete.

The news comes after the city of Barmer in Rajasthan topped temperature charts this week with a record 48.8˚Con Thursday.

Weather officials have warned of conditions ranging from a heatwave to severe heatwave in many parts of the state, as well as in the northern states of Punjab and Haryana.

Indian weather officials set the heatwave threshold at a maximum temperature of 40˚Cin the plains, as well as a departure of at least 4.5˚C from the normal maximum temperature.

Climate change ministry warns of more heatwaves in Pakistan

In neighbouring Pakistan, the climate change ministry said that about 26 districts in the country were boiling under a severe heatwave as of Thursday, with the current spell of sizzling temperature likely to last until May 30.

As almost 26 districts of Pakistan swelter in the oppressive heat that has gripped the country since May 21, the climate change ministry has said that the first wave will last until May 30, followed by two more separate heatwaves in June, blaming unsustainable environmental practices and deforestation for the extreme weather conditions.

The co-ordinator to the Prime Minister on Climate Change Romina Khurshid Alam, accompanied by officials from the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), called upon the federal and provincial government departments to mobilise available resources to protect citizens, particularly children and the elderly, from the sweltering heat.

Citing data from the Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD), Alam noted at a presser that temperatures across most regions were currently 5 to 6 degrees Celsius above normal. She revealed that 26 districts in Punjab, Sindh, and Balochistan were experiencing severe heatwave conditions, which were expected to persist in three waves throughout the summer. The first wave, ongoing from May 22-30, would be followed by additional waves in early and late June. She said the second heatwave would be from June 7-8 and the third wave would be during the last week of June. "The country is facing a severe heatwave, and this is just the beginning,” Alam stated, adding, "High atmospheric pressure is exacerbating these conditions, adversely affecting the socio-economic activities of our people.”

The temperature is expected to hit 50˚C in at least two cities in the southern province of Sindh later on Friday, which has already delayed week annual school exams due to the blistering heat.

Cyclone in Bangladesh

In a striking contrast, Bangladesh and parts of West Bengal in eastern India are expected to be hit by "severe cyclonic storm" Remal, which is likely to make landfall on Sunday, India Meteorological Department (IMD) has predicted.

Heavy rain in south India

In Kerala in southern India at least seven people died this week following pre-monsoon rains that were about 18 percent heavier than normal, bringing floods that disrupted flight schedules in some areas. With a red alert issued by the weather department, Kerala is likely to be lashed with very heavy to extremely heavy rain on Friday too.

WAM / Associated Press

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