India wilts under heatwave as temperature hits 50 degrees Celsius

India is wilting under a heatwave, with the temperature in places reaching 50 degrees Celsius (122 degrees Fahrenheit) and the capital enduring …

India wilts under heatwave as temperature hits 50 degrees Celsius

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DELHI: is wilting a , the in places reaching Celsius  the capital enduring its hottest May day in nearly two decades.

The hot spell is projected to scorch northern India for several more days, the Meteorological Department said late Tuesday (May ), “with severe heat wave conditions in isolated pockets”.

global temperatures rise, heatwaves are a regular menace in the country – particularly in May and June. Last year dozens of died.

Met officials said Churu in the northern state of Rajasthan was the hottest place on on Tuesday, at 50 Celsius, while parts of Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh sweltered in the high 40s.

Monkeys took to public ponds to escape the heat in Allahabad as India wilted under record high temperatures in some places AFP/SANJAY KANOJIA

Parts of the capital, New Delhi, recorded the hottest May day in 18 years with the mercury hitting 47.6 Celsius.

No have been reported so far this year, but last year the government said the heat had killed 3,500 people since 2015. There have been fewer fatalities in recent years.

The country of 1.3 billion people suffers from severe water shortages with tens of millions lacking running water.

Parts of Delhi and elsewhere regularly see scuffles when tankers arrive to deliver water. Last year Chennai made headlines when the southern city ran out of water entirely.

The heatwave adds to problems the country already has dealing with the spread of .

The shade of a giant tree provided an escape from the heat for some Delhi residents AFP/Money SHARMA

India now has the 10th highest number of coronavirus cases globally, climbing above 150,000 on Wednesday with almost 4,500 deaths.

Last week cyclone Amphan killed more than 100 people as it ravaged in eastern India and Bangladesh, flattening villages, destroying farms and leaving millions without power.

Huge swarms of desert locusts, meanwhile, have destroyed nearly 50,000 hectares of crops across western and central India, and may enter Delhi in coming days.

The north-eastern states of Assam and Meghalaya are also currently experiencing floods, with more heavy rainfall forecast in the coming days.

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