Pakistan still struggling with sweltering heat

Pakistan was again facing abnormally high temperatures on Friday, reaching 50° in places, as authorities warned of the risk of water shortages and the threat to health.

Pakistan still struggling with sweltering heat

Pakistan was again facing abnormally high temperatures on Friday, reaching 50° in places, as authorities warned of the risk of water shortages and the threat to health.

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Large swaths of the country have been experiencing a record heat wave since late April, which the United Nations World Meteorological Organization (WMO) has deemed to be “consistent” with climate change.

On Thursday, temperatures soared to 49.5°C in Jacobabad, in the southern province of Sindh, the Pakistan Meteorological Service (PMD) said, adding that it could be so until the end of the week.

At the national level, the temperatures are between 6 and 9° “above the normal (seasonal)”, underlined the PMD, the thermometer displaying Friday around 40° in the capital Islamabad and the big cities of Karachi (south) , Lahore (east) and Peshawar (north-west).

“This year, we have gone directly from winter to summer,” said PMD chief forecaster Zaheer Ahmad Babar.

Pakistan, he said, has been hit since 2015 by rising temperatures, particularly in the provinces of Sindh and Punjab (center).

"The intensity, duration and frequency (of these heat waves) are increasing," he told AFP.

The flow of the Indus River has been reduced by 65% ​​this year "due to lack of rain and snow", according to the spokesman for the department of irrigation in Punjab, Adnan Hassan.

Taking its source in Tibet, the Indus crosses India then Pakistan before emerging in the Arabian Sea. Its basin provides 90% of Pakistan's water supply, according to the UN.

The Pakistani press reported that sheep had died of sunstroke and dehydration in the Cholistan desert in Punjab, the most populous province and the country's breadbasket.

“There is a real risk of shortage of food and crops this year in the country, if this lack of water were to persist”, underlined Mr. Hassan.

The heat wave has also hit neighboring India, with temperatures hitting 48.1 degrees Thursday in Barmer district, Rajasthan province.

Pakistan, with a population of 220 million, says it is only responsible for 1% of global greenhouse gas emissions.

However, it is in 8th position among the countries most threatened by extreme weather phenomena, according to a study by the NGO Germanwatch.


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