India and Pakistan were crushed by a record heat wave in pictures

Posted today at 5:20 PM.

A fire at the Bhalswa landfill in New Delhi, India, Wednesday, April 27, 2022.

The Bhalswa landfill in New Delhi, which covers an area equivalent to fifty football fields and is taller than a seventeen-storey building, caught fire on Tuesday evening. The disaster soon turned the horrific mountain of garbage into a veritable inferno, setting the night sky ablaze and releasing toxic, wonderful-smelling fumes over the conglomerate and its 25 million inhabitants. Under the influence of heat, methane gas produced by decomposing organic matter ignited. Thick, pungent smoke enveloped the capital of India, like the rest of South Asia in the midst of a record heat wave.

A rag collector searches for reusable items as a fire breaks out at the Bhalswa landfill in New Delhi on Wednesday, April 27, 2022.
Motorcyclists cover their faces with a piece of cloth to protect themselves from the heat, in Amritsar, Punjab state, on April 26, 2022.
Dharamsala, 1 May 2022.

India and Pakistan are experiencing exceptional and early heat waves this year, with peaks reaching 50°C in some places, leading to water shortages and power outages. These temperatures are usually recorded in May and June, the hottest months of the year. Schools have also been forced to close, and medical and firefighting services are on alert for war. Hundreds of fires have reduced pine forests to ash, especially around Dharamsala, the city where the exiled Dalai Lama resides.

A worker at a train station on the outskirts of Amritsar, April 30, 2022.
Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, Thursday 28 April 2022.

Several areas in the country of 1.4 billion people are reporting a reduction in water supply that will worsen until the annual monsoon rains in June and July. Despite the heat, workers continued to work.

Firefighters try to put out burning waste after a fire broke out at Birungodi landfill in Chennai, Tamil Nadu state on April 29, 2022.

It may promise to be tougher, with stifling temperatures and increased air pollution. This heat wave, the highest in one hundred and twenty-two years, is raising fears that these extreme weather conditions will become the new norm. Scientists say that due to climate change, heat waves are more frequent but also more intense.

Pedestrians buy drinking water and drinks in New Delhi, Monday, April 11, 2022.

The vast majority of Indians are poor and have to endure these harsh conditions without air conditioners, without fans, in unsuitable habitats. The Indian capital, like all major cities, has hundreds of thousands of homeless people living in slums where there is no access to drinking water.

School children cover themselves with a handkerchief to protect themselves from the sun's rays in Prayagraj, north Uttar Pradesh, Thursday, April 21, 2022.

for ds Frederic Otto, Lecturer in Climate Science at the Grantham Institute, London, “Heatwaves in India and elsewhere will continue to get hotter and more dangerous, until net greenhouse gas emissions are over.”.

A woman covers her head with a plastic tub as she walks near Sangam, the confluence of the rivers Ganges, Yamuna and the legendary Saraswati River, in the city of Allahabad on April 30, 2022.
Rajpiks sit on a sack under the shade of a tree to protect themselves from the sun, in Mumbai on Sunday, May 1, 2022.
People sit in the shade of a tree to shade themselves from the sun in Bombay, India, Sunday, May 1, 2022.
Rag collectors take shelter from the heat under a tarpaulin after a fire broke out at the Bhalswa landfill in New Delhi on April 29, 2022.
A man gives fresh water to birds in New Delhi, Monday, April 11, 2022.
A trainer regenerates an elephant in Farah, Uttar Pradesh, on May 1, 2022.
A forest fire in the village of Sujana in the north of the country on May 1, 2022.

Neighboring Pakistan also suffers from this extreme heat. The hot weather corresponds to the period of Ramadan that requires believers not to drink and eat between sunrise and sunset, and to test Muslims and Indian Pakistanis. Farmers will need to manage the water supply wisely in this Pakistani country where agriculture, the mainstay of the economy, employs about 40% of the total workforce.

In Peshawar, Pakistan, on April 30, 2022.

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