Heat warning scaled up in Delhi as ‘longest ever’ heatwave continues

A “red alert” was issued for Delhi this week as the country’s “longest-everheatwave continued to scorch north and central India.

The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) issued the alert which is the highest on its weather scale once again this year as temperatures in Delhi soared above 44C.

The alert warns of an “extremely high likelihood” of heatstroke and heat illness for all ages.

Delhi recorded temperatures of 44.9C on Sunday, which is six degrees above the normal, and has been under an orange alert. The minimum temperature was recorded at 33.2C, almost six degrees above the seasonal average.

The Met office said Delhi has seen a heatwave persisting for the eighth straight day again after a brief break in the first week of June.

Sunday also marked the 35th consecutive day when the city’s maximum temperature exceeded 40C.

Heatwaves also scorched India’s most populous state, Uttar Pradesh, which saw temperatures soar above 46C in several cities on Sunday.

The city of Prayagraj in UP recorded a temperature of 47.2C, becoming the hottest in India for the fifth time in the past 10 days,

The IMD earlier confirmed that this year India has faced its “longest-ever” heatwave with 24 straight days of scorching temperatures above 40C recorded in May.

During that period, hundreds of heatstroke deaths were reported, including dozens of poll workers as India was concluding its six phase elections.

Official figures released in May suggested 60 people died between March and May across India due to heat-related illnesses. However, activists say the data is far higher.

Sunil Kumar Aledia, an activist working with homeless people in Delhi, told The Independent earlier this month that over 400 people had died on streets of Delhi since March.

The longer the heatwaves persist, it can also make the ongoing water crisis worse. Many regions in Delhi have been relying on water tankers amid a severe shortage. Fines have been imposed on people for any kind of water wastage.

Weather officials say they are expecting some relief from a thunderstorm expected on Thursday that can bring temperatures down.