India's Deadly Heatwave and Cyclone Devastation: Climate Change Catastrophe

India's severe heatwave this summer has led to more than 100 deaths and widespread illness. Searing temperatures hit 50 degrees Celsius in areas such as Delhi and Rajasthan, exacerbated by human-driven climate change. Concurrently, Cyclone Remal and heavy rains have devastated parts of eastern and southern India.


Reuters | Updated: 03-06-2024 21:54 IST | Created: 03-06-2024 21:54 IST
India's Deadly Heatwave and Cyclone Devastation: Climate Change Catastrophe
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India's unusually severe heatwave this summer is suspected to have killed more than 100 people and made tens of thousands ill, authorities and media reports said, while parts of the country were also battered by a recent cyclone and heavy rains. Searing temperatures beginning in March touched 50 degrees Celsius (122 F) in capital Delhi and nearby state of Rajasthan in May due to a confluence of factors, a trend scientists say has been worsened by human driven climate change.

At least 30 people died of heatstroke in the eastern Indian state of Odisha over the summer, the state's disaster management authority said on Monday, adding that 97 other suspected sunstroke deaths are pending inquiry. Nearly 25,000 people suffered suspected heatstroke during India's summer season that falls between March and May, news website ThePrint reported citing government data, with cases peaking in May.

There were more than twice as many heatwave days recorded in northwestern and eastern India as usual this season, mainly because of fewer non-monsoon thundershowers and warm winds blowing from neighbouring arid regions into India. Deaths have been reported in northern and western parts of India as well, where the heatwave was particularly severe last month during national elections, as taps almost ran dry in Delhi and animals collapsed in fields.

In contrast, parts of eastern India reeled from the impact of cyclone Remal, with heavy rains in the northeastern state of Assam killing 14 people since Tuesday. Southern states of Karnataka and Kerala have also been inundated by heavy rains.

On Sunday, India's tech hub of Bengaluru in Karnataka received 111.1 mm of rainfall - the most recorded for a single day for the month of June since 1891 - with TV footage showing vehicles and pedestrians wading through flooded streets. In neighbouring Sri Lanka to the south, at least 15 people were killed in floods and landslides after heavy monsoon rains, the country's Disaster Management Centre said on Sunday.

Early arrival of monsoon in Kerala last week is expected to offer some, though India's weather office has forecast the heatwave to continue in the north and east over next five days.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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