India and Pakistan crushed by record heat wave, in photos

Posted today at 5:20 PM.

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

The Bhalswa landfill in New Delhi, which covers an area of ​​50 football fields and is higher than a 17-storey building, was set on fire on Tuesday evening. The disaster quickly turned the horrific mountain of garbage into a veritable inferno, setting the night sky ablaze and spewing horrific poisonous and foul-smelling fumes over the metropolitan area and its 25 million inhabitants. Under the influence of the heat, the methane that was released by the decomposing organic matter ignited. India’s capital, which like the rest of South Asia is in the midst of a record-breaking heat wave, was shrouded in thick, acrid smoke.

A rag picker searches for reusable items on Wednesday, April 27, 2022 as a fire rages at the Bhalswa landfill in New Delhi.
Motorcyclists cover their faces with a cloth to shelter from the heat, in Amritsar, Punjab state, on April 26, 2022.
Dharamsala, May 1, 2022.

India and Pakistan are being hit by exceptional and early heatwaves this year, with peaks of 50°C in some places, leading to water shortages and power cuts. Such temperatures are normally recorded in May and June, the two hottest months of the year. Schools also had to close and the medical and fire services are at war. Hundreds of fires have reduced pine forests to ashes, especially around Dharamsala, the city where the exiled Dalai Lama lives.

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

Several regions in the country of 1.4 billion people reported a drop in water supplies that will only get worse until the annual monsoon rains in June and July. Despite the heat, the workers continued to work.

Firefighters try to extinguish burning waste after a fire broke out at the Perungudi landfill site in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, on April 29, 2022.

May promises to be even tougher, with stifling temperatures and more air pollution. This heat wave, the highest in one hundred and twenty-two years, raises fears that these extreme weather events may become the new normal. Scientists say that due to climate change, heat waves are more frequent but also more severe.

Passers-by buy drinking water and drinks in New Delhi, Monday, April 11, 2022.

The vast majority of Indians are poor and forced to endure these extreme conditions without air conditioning, without fans, in unsuitable habitats. The Indian capital, like all major megacities, has hundreds of thousands of homeless people living in slums where drinking water is not available.

Schoolchildren cover themselves with a scarf against the sun in Prayagraj, northern Uttar Pradesh state, Thursday, April 21, 2022.

for the Dr Friederike Otto, lecturer in climate science at the Grantham Institute, London, “Heat waves in India and elsewhere will continue to get hotter and more dangerous until net greenhouse gas emissions stop”

A woman covers her head with a plastic bowl as she walks in Allahabad on April 30, 2022 near Sangam, the confluence of the Ganges, Yamuna and mythical Saraswati rivers.
A ragpicker sits on a bag in the shade of a tree to protect himself from the sun, in Mumbai on Sunday, May 1, 2022.
People sit in the shade of a tree to protect themselves from the sun in Bombay, India, Sunday, May 1, 2022.
Rag pickers shelter under a tarp from the heat after a fire 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 refreshes an elephant in Farah, Uttar Pradesh state, on May 1, 2022.
A forest fire in the village of Sujana, in the north of the country, on May 1, 2022.

Neighboring Pakistan is also experiencing this extreme heat. The warm weather coincided with the period of Ramadan, which requires worshipers not to eat and drink between sunrise and sunset, which puts Indian Muslims and Pakistanis to the test. Farmers will have to use water 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.