Extreme heat impacting millions across India and Pakistan


The extreme heat is impacting hundreds of millions of people in one of the most densely populated parts of the world, threatening to damage whole ecosystems.

Working closely with health and disaster management agencies, the national meteorological and hydrological departments in both countries, plan to roll out heat health action plans, which have been successful in saving lives in the past few years, said the UN weather agency in a statement.

Cascading impacts

Extreme heat has multiple and cascading impacts not just on human health, but also on ecosystems, agriculture, water and energy supplies and key sectors of the economy.

WMO reiterated its commitment to “ensuring that multi-hazard early warning services reach the most vulnerable”.

Heat Health Action Plans

Both India and Pakistan have successful heat-health early warning systems and action plans already in place, including those specially tailored for urban areas.

They reduce heat mortality and lessen the social impacts of extreme heat, including lost work productivity.

Important lessons have been learned from the past and these are now being shared among all partners of the WMO co-sponsored Global Heat Health Information Network, to enhance capacity in the hard-hit region, WMO advanced.

Intense heat to continue

The India Meteorological Department said that maximum temperatures reached 43-46°C in widespread areas, on 28 April, and that this intense heat will continue until 2 May.

Similar temperatures have also been seen in Pakistan, with daytime temperatures likely to be between 5°C and 8°C above normal in large swathes of the country, said the Pakistan Meteorological Department.

They also warned that in the mountainous regions of Gilgit-Baltistan and Khyber Pakhtunkwa, the unusual heat levels would accelerate snow and ice melt, with the possibility of triggering glacial lake floods - or flash floods in vulnerable areas.

Air quality has also deteriorated, and large swathes of land are at risk of fire outbreaks.