Birds Are Falling From The Sky As India's Blistering Heatwave Blazes On
Birds have been dropping from the sky in India as a brutal heatwave continues to grip the nation.
In the state of Gujarat, on the west coast of the country, rescuers have reported that thousands of birds have fallen from the sky, with blistering temperatures drying up water sources.
On Wednesday (11 May), in an animal hospital in the city of Ahmedabad – managed by non-governmental organisation (NGO) Jivdaya Charitable Trust – doctors fed fallen birds with multivitamin tablets and injected water into their mouths, as temperatures exceeded 46C.
Manoj Bhavsar, who works with the trust and has been rescuing birds for over a decade, told Reuters: "This year has been one of the worst in the recent times. We have seen a 10 percent increase in the number of birds that need rescuing."
Large areas of South Asia have endured the hottest pre-summer months in recent years, and the heatwave is showing no sign of letting up, with temperatures of 50C forecast.
The grim milestone temperature is expected to be reached in the Pakistani city of Jacobabad, with huge surrounding swathes expected to exceed the 40C mark as well.
These temperatures are significantly above expected levels for this time of the year, and give further credence to the argument that the climate change is causing these extreme weather events.
The heatwave has been raging on and off since March, which was the hottest reported March for more than 100 years in India, while north-west and central India also saw their warmest April in history.
So far, at least 25 people have died in the western Indian state of Maharashtra, but the figure is likely to be higher, if the extreme heat's effect on those who have existing illness is considered. More than 470 cases of heatstroke have also been reported.
The overall death toll has not been calculated.
Met Office meteorologist Nick Silkstone said: "The extreme heat poses risks for local communities and adds to the threat of wider environmental impacts, such as wildfires and the threat of glacial lakes creating flash flooding events as the ice in front of these lakes gives way due to the extreme heat."
Relentless and punishing heatwave in Pakistan & India is entering the next level.— Scott Duncan (@ScottDuncanWX) April 26, 2022
Sadly, this is just the beginning. Over 1 billion people will endure the excessive heat. Shaded on the map is where we expect over 40° C (104°F).
Some will approach 50°C (122°F). pic.twitter.com/YLRHwpe4mO
Pakistan's federal minister for climate change, senator Sherry Rehman, shared a bleak assessment of the situation.
She said: "This is the first time in decades that Pakistan is experiencing what many call a 'spring-less year' in March 2022.
“South Asia, particularly India and Pakistan, are faced with what has been a record-breaking heatwave. It started in early April and continues to leave the people gasping in whatever shade they find.
"The global weather forecasting organisations have predicted that temperatures in Pakistan and India this year could soar up to 49C to 50C, which is a direct repercussion of climate stress."
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