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Asia Minute

Asia Minute: South Asia continues to swelter under record heat

India Power Crisis heatwave 050222
Manish Swarup/AP
A man walks across an almost dried up bed of river Yamuna following hot weather in New Delhi, India, Monday, May 2, 2022. An unusually early and brutal heat wave is scorching parts of India, where acute power shortages are affecting millions as demand for electricity surges to record levels. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)

A dangerous heat wave in South Asia is continuing to shatter records. Residents are sweltering under temperatures that are threatening electricity supplies and interfering with food crops.

At least 15 states across India are suffering from a relentless heat wave pressing South Asia with temperatures ranging from 109 degrees to 115 degrees Fahrenheit.

It’s a similar story in neighboring Pakistan with a recent reading of nearly 117 degrees Fahrenheit in the province of Sindh.

And that’s just the air temperature.

Weather satellites with heat sensors show ground temperatures in parts of northwest India topping 60 degrees Celsius, or 140 degrees Fahrenheit.

That’s hit regional food production — crippling the wheat crop in the Punjab, and slashing the rice crop in Sindh.

Electricity is another concern.

The government says increased demand for power has led to coal shortages in parts of India — and that has forced cuts in electricity with so-called brownouts lasting up to nine hours a day, affecting millions of people.

CNN reports the government has cancelled more than 650 passenger trains to make way for cargo trains moving coal to power plants.

The immediate spike is expected to continue for several days, but it’s already a long wait for the monsoon rains that usually arrive in June.

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