Temperatures are soaring across India, prompting alerts on heatwaves and raising the possibility of blackouts, potentially putting millions of people in danger of fatal heat exhaustion or heat stroke. After enduring a brutal heat wave in 2022, that had a severe impact on the world's wheat supplies, India is gearing up for what could be another unusually hot summer.
Heat, when combined with humidity, becomes especially dangerous, or even deadly. A majority of India’s 1.4 billion population works outdoors, often without protection. Many construction workers, hawkers, and rickshaw pullers lose their lives every year during the summers as they don’t have the means to beat the heat. India reportedly suffers from the most pronounced heat-related labour losses in the world.
On April 18, Patna city of Bihar recorded a temperature of 44.1 degrees Celsius, the highest this season as of now. Sheikhpura district was the hottest at 44.4 degrees Celsius, closely followed by 43.2 degrees Celsius in Banka, Jamui, Nawada, Khagaria and Rohtas. The district administrations of Bihar and West Bengal have directed educational institutions to remain closed or wind up early, keeping in mind the severe heatwave conditions
The India Meteorological Department issued heatwave warnings for several regions, including Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Coastal Andhra Pradesh, Punjab, Bihar, and Odisha for the next 4 to 5 days. The IMD has issued orange alerts for Bihar with a warning of severe heatwave conditions for two days from Tuesday in Patna, Banka, Jamui, Nawada, Aurangabad, Supaul, and several other districts. West Bengal has also been given an Orange alert.