Schools close in India due to ‘severe’ heatwave

The authorities in New Delhi on Tuesday, May 21, ordered the early closure of schools in the Indian capital for the summer holidays, with ” immediate effect “, according to the local press, due to extreme temperatures. The Indian Meteorological Department has forecast a “severe heat wave” this week. On Monday, it was 47.8°C in Najafgarh on the outskirts of Delhi, the highest temperature in the entire country.

Authorities in several states, including Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab and Rajasthan, in the north and central part of the country, have also ordered schools to close, according to India Today.

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In May 2022, some areas of Delhi experienced temperatures rising up to 49.2°C. In contrast, southern Indian states, including Tamil Nadu and Kerala, have experienced heavy rains in recent days.

Severe storms also hit parts of the country last week, including the financial capital Mumbai, where the power of the wind caused a billboard on a gas station to fall. Sixteen people were killed and several dozen others injured.

Last month, an exceptional heat wave affected South and Southeast Asia, notably the Philippines and Bangladesh, where thousands of schools suspended classes. According to scientific research, heat waves are longer, more frequent and more intense due to global warming.

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Currently, 968 million Indians, more than the population of the European Union, Russia and the United States combined, are called to elect the 543 members of the lower house. The sixth phase of these general elections, which include seven and take place until June 1, will take place on Saturday, notably in Delhi.

India’s Election Commission said last month it had formed a task force to examine the impact of heatwaves and humidity ahead of each phase of voting. Turnout in the general elections is lower than in 2019, and some analysts blame the decline on hot weather and others on “a certain disinterest” voters for a vote without surprises.

Hindu nationalist Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is seeking a third term, was predicted to be the winner by political analysts well before the elections began on April 19.

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The World with AFP

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