India and Pakistan's extreme heatwaves a warning sign for the future

Experts say poorer communities could be hit hard by the wide-ranging effects of climate change

India and Pakistan are well used to surging temperatures at this time of the year as baking hot summers precede the monsoon season.

Recent conditions have been particularly challenging, however, with northwest and central India recording their hottest April for 122 years.

The high pressure system behind the heatwave in India has also meant parts of Pakistan have endured 50°C temperatures, causing one resident to tell the country’s media it was “like living in hell”.

Daytime temperatures have often been between 5°C and 8°C higher than average for the time of year.

Experts have raised concern over whether the two nations are equipped to deal with increasingly extreme weather.

The secretary general of the World Meteorological Organisation, Prof Petteri Taalas, said in a recent online statement the “extreme heat in India and Pakistan” was “consistent with what we expect in a changing climate”.

“Heatwaves are more frequent and more intense and starting earlier than in the past,” he said.

Indian heatwaves on the rise