India’s heatwave ‘longest ever’, Worst yet to come

New Delhi: India’s heatwave is the longest ever to hit the country, the government’s top weather expert said Monday as he warned people will face increasingly oppressive temperatures.

Parts of northern India have been gripped by a heatwave since mid-May, with temperatures soaring over 45 degrees Celsius (113 degrees Fahrenheit).

“This has been the longest spell because it has been experienced for about 24 days in different parts of the country,” the head of India’s Meteorological Department (IMD), Mrutyunjay Mohapatra, said in an interview.

The mercury is expected to fall as the annual monsoon rains move north this month, but Mohapatra cautioned worse will follow.

“Heatwaves will be more frequent, durable and intense, if precautionary or preventive measures are not taken,” he said.

India is the world’s third-biggest emitter of greenhouse gases but has committed to achieve a net zero emissions economy by 2070 — two decades after most of the industrialised West.

For now, it is overwhelmingly reliant on coal for power generation.