A woman tries to cover her face from the heatwave in New Delhi, India, 23 May 2023. EFE/EPA/RAJAT GUPTA

India swelters amid year’s worst heatwave

New Delhi, May 23 (EFE).- The capital New Delhi and parts of northern India is facing the worst heatwave of the year so far, with restrictions on several outdoor activities and work as the unbearable heat has made life difficult for people.

Volunteers offer refreshing drinks to people on the occasion of the Martyrdom Day of the Guru Arjan Dev, the fifth Sikh Guru, amid scorching heat in New Delhi, India, 23 May 2023. EFE/EPA/RAJAT GUPTA

This week saw the mercury reach its peak of 46.2 degrees Celsius, recorded in New Delhi on Monday, while Tuesday continued to swelter with temperatures of 43 degrees.

India Meteorological Department (IMD) said the scorching heat is part of the ongoing heatwave that could begin to abate in the coming days with the arrival of rains and winds.

The ongoing excessive heatwave, which has been gradually increasing in recent days, follows an unusual spell of unseasonal rains, with storms and sharp drop in temperatures.

“It is too hot; we are suffering a lot due to the intense heatwave. The temperature is rising up to 40 and 42 degrees Celsius, making it difficult to go out,” Ravi Kumar Tripathi, a New Delhi resident, told EFE.

The IMD has said the temperature may dip significantly on Wednesday with the possibility of light drizzle and strong winds that could reach up to 60kph in the northern states of Uttarakhand, Punjab and Haryana, as well as the Indian capital.

Last year, northwest and central India recorded its warmest April since records began to be kept 122 years ago, as a part of an extensive heatwave that affected large parts of the country.

The extreme weather conditions and unseasonal and erratic rainfall could possibly affect crops and its agriculture-dependent economy, apart from the health of the population.

According to a research published in 2021 by Indian meteorologists, more than 17,000 people have died in the last 50 years due to extreme heat. EFE