World sizzles as mercury soars leaving people dead - GulfToday

World sizzles as mercury soars leaving people dead


Pittsburghers flock to the Water Steps at the Riverfront Park along the Allegheny River in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on Tuesday. AFP

India recorded more than 40,000 suspected heatstroke cases this summer as a prolonged heatwave killed more than 100 people across the country, while parts of its northeast grappled with floods from heavy rain, authorities said.

Billions across Asia are grappling with extreme heat this summer in a trend scientists say has been worsened by human-driven climate change, with temperatures in north India soaring to almost 50°C in one of the longest heatwave spells recorded.

Birds fell from the skies due to extreme heat and hospitals reported an inflow of heat-affected patients as both day and night time temperatures peaked in recent weeks since the start of summer in March.

The health ministry ordered federal and state institutions to ensure “immediate attention” to patients, while hospitals in the capital Delhi, which is also facing a water shortage, were directed make more beds available.

Heatwave-US Best friends Anna Labelle, left and Frankie Russell got creative help stay cool in Labelle's backyard in Auburn, Maine. AP

A health ministry official said there were more than 40,000 suspected heatstroke cases and at least 110 confirmed deaths between March 1 and June 18, when northwest and eastern India recorded twice the usual number of heatwave days.

The weather office has forecast above normal temperatures for this month too, as authorities say Indian cities have become “heat traps” due to unbalanced growth.

“During the ongoing heatwave, most bird rescue calls that we receive are due to birds falling from the skies,” said Kartick Satyanarayan, co-founder and CEO of non-profit Wildlife SOS.

A blast of heat and humidity in the US Midwest and Northeast days before the official start of summer put a wet blanket on outdoor activities from festivals to sports camps as officials urged people to take precautions.

Heatwave-fountain Children run through water provided by the Benton Harbour Department of Public Safety during Spray and Play at City Center Park. AP

Cities that opened cooling centers this week advised that Wednesday’s Juneteenth holiday means some public libraries, senior centers and pools where residents could beat the heat will be closed.

The dangerous temperatures were expected to peak in the eastern Great Lakes and New England on Wednesday and Thursday, and in the Ohio Valley and Mid-Atlantic on Friday and Saturday, the National Weather Service said. Heat index readings were expected to reach 37.7°C to 40.5°C in many locations.

People and even zoo animals were forced to find ways to thwart the muggy weather.

An organisation that provides produce to areas with limited access to fresh food in Columbus, Ohio, prepared frozen towels and packed cold water for their workers. “Hydration is the key,” said Monique McCoy, market manager for the Local Matters Veggie Van.

At least one person died due to the wildfires in New Mexico which have also led to the evacuation of thousands of people and damaged hundreds of structures, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham’s office said on Wednesday.

Greek firefighters appeared close to containing a wildfire near Athens on Wednesday that forced dozens to flee their homes, and authorities now believe the fire was the result of arson as well as hot, dry conditions.

Traffic was suspended along a main highway connecting Koropi to Athens’ southern suburbs, about 30 km south of Athens.

There were no reports of deaths or injuries. A fire service official said the intensity of the blaze had eased but it was not out, noting that high winds carry sparks that can quickly open new fronts.

Heatwave-Hong-Kong A woman cools off with her grandson in a public fountain in Seoul, South Korea. AP

Civil protection minister Vassilis Kikilias said officials have verified indications that the fire near Athens was the result of arson as well as extreme weather conditions.

He said there is a video and photos of the suspected arsonist and authorities will publish them.

Summer wildfires also plagued Greece’s Mediterranean neighbour Turkey, where two villages were evacuated but no injuries were reported.

Heatwave-US-fountain-2024 Children cool off at Crown Fountain in Millennium Park  in Chicago. AP

In Turkey, officials said on Wednesday they had brought under control two wildfires in the historic Gallipoli peninsula and Eceabat, both in the northwestern Canakkale province. Hundreds of firefighters and volunteers, assisted by 15 water-dropping aircraft, battled the blazes that broke out on Tuesday.

The Eceabat blaze reportedly started when a fire started to burn agricultural waste accidentally spread into a forest.

Two villages in Gallipoli were evacuated as a precaution, officials said.


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