People cool off in a wave pool during a hot summer day at a water park in New Delhi on Saturday. AFP
India and neighbouring Pakistan have been suffering from extreme heat waves this year, melting pavements, forcing school closures and triggering health and fire alerts.
Northwest and central India recorded average maximum temperatures of 35.9˚C and 37.78˚C respectively in April, the Director General of the Indian Meteorological Department told reporters.
Those were the highest since it began keeping records 122 years ago, Mrutyunjay Mohapatra added.
More than a billion people are at risk of heat-related impacts in the region, scientists have warned, linking the early onset of an intense summer to climate change.
For the first time in decades, Pakistan went from winter to summer without the spring season, Pakistan's Federal Minister for Climate Change, Sherry Rehman, said on Saturday.
While Basra is used to scorching summers, this year it has started sooner than expected, bringing misery to residents in a city also plagued by chronic electricity shortages.
On Friday, the city of Jacobabad in Sindh province hit 50˚C, the Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) said, with temperatures forecast to remain high until Sunday.
A fierce heatwave in western Europe on Monday left much of the continent wilting under a scorching sun, smashing temperature records and feeding ferocious forest wildfires.
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Thousands of people have gathered at flour distribution centres set up across the country, some as part of a government-backed programme to ease the impact of inflation.
The pope, 86, was taken to Rome's Gemelli hospital three days ago after complaining of breathing difficulties. He has responded well to an infusion of antibiotics, his medical team has said.