Heatwave in Pakistan and India

Muhammad Hassan Aamir, Contributing Writer

Global Warming and ever-rising temperatures continue to take their toll on the rest of the world; with its most recent victims being the 1.5 billion people of India and Pakistan. This past few months a heatwave has subjected the people of India and Pakistan to extreme heat and humidity. Responding to the heatwave, Pakistan’s Minister for Climate Change called it “a spring-less year.” Concordiensis sat down with Akriti Dhasmana ’22 and Alisa Motiwala ’25 to get their thoughts on these heat waves. International students from India and Pakistan respectively, Dhasmana and Motiwala are no strangers to such intense heat waves. 

 For India, this past April was the hottest in 122 years and followed the hottest March on record. For Pakistan, it was the hottest April in 61 years. Jacobabad, Pakistan was characterized by a 2021 Amnesty International Report as “unlivable for humans” when temperatures hit triple digits (120.2 degrees Fahrenheit).

 The most vulnerable group affected by these heatwaves is the labor force. A huge chunk of Pakistan and India’s workforce is in agriculture. During the harvest season, millions of people are having to work in these conditions or give up their livelihood. According to Vox, at least 25 people have died in India and 65 further deaths have been reported in Pakistan although due to these harsh conditions, the true numbers are expected to be higher. 

 After receiving the news from her grandmother, Dhasmana felt that things had begun to take a turn for the worse. She said, “it has gotten significantly worse over this period.”

 “Following the burning of a landfill mass, it has made the situation significantly worse with Delhi becoming engulfed in smog and toxic fumes,” she remarked. She continues “that it had become extremely difficult for one to go outside for some time.”

 Motiwala’s experience of heat waves is very similar to that of Dhasmana. As a competitive athlete, she says “Karachi experiences severe humidity with no cloud cover and as an athlete, it made it particularly tough due to outdoor training.” She continues, “These heat waves particularly affect those in low-income housing because of their inability to afford luxuries like indoor cooling and air conditioning.”

Both Dhasmana and Motiwala agree one of the solutions to the effects of heatwaves should be providing relief to the people.  Dhasmana argues India should “halt” its construction work at least during the daytime so workers can attain some sort of relief. Similar to Dhasmana, Motiwala too suggests methods of relief for the working population. She calls on the government and other non-governmental organizations to further increase their efforts for the people affected.

The governments of Pakistan and India however have responded to this event in different ways. Senator Sherry Rehman who serves as the Minister of Climate Change in Pakistan “recommends inclusive reforestation” and argues that the developed world should help Pakistan because after all “it is their pollution they are paying for.”