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Delhi temperature hits 50.5C as city records hottest day

AFP

Temperatures in Delhi have hit a record high of 50.5C (122.9F), as authorities warned of water shortages in India’s capital.

The India Meteorological Department (IMD), which reported “severe heat-wave conditions”, recorded the temperature in the suburb of Mungeshpur on Wednesday afternoon, breaking the landmark 50C measurement for the first time in the city.

Meanwhile, The India Meteorological Department (IMD) on Wednesday said the station measurement showing a potentially record-breaking temperature of 52.9 C in Delhi’s Mungeshpur may have been due to a fault in the measuring equipment.

“Mungeshpur reported 52.9 degrees Celsius as an outlier compared to other stations,” IMD said in a statement, referring to a station in a Delhi suburb.

The temperature was more than nine degrees higher than expected, the IMD said, and came on the second day of record-breaking heat. On Tuesday a high of 49.9C had been hit in Mungeshpur and Narela, breaking the 2002 record of 49.2C.

The IMD warned of the heat’s impact on health, especially for children, elderly people and those with chronic diseases. The alert warns there is a “very high likelihood of developing heat illness and heat stroke in all ages”, with “extreme care needed for vulnerable people”.

India is no stranger to searing summer temperatures. Years of scientific research have found the climate crisis is causing heatwaves to become longer, more frequent and more intense.

City authorities warned of the risk of water shortages as the capital swelters. The water minister, Atishi Marlena, called for “collective responsibility” in stopping wasteful water use, the Times of India newspaper reported on Wednesday.

Rajasthan’s desert region of Phalodi holds the country’s all-time heat record, hitting 51C in 2016.

Indians who can afford to escape the baking cities have fled to cooler places in the mountains. But even alpine-like Kashmir, known as the “Switzerland of the east”, has witnessed an unprecedented heatwave.

At the same time, West Bengal and the north-eastern state of Mizoram have been struck by gales and lashing rains from Cyclone Remal, which hit India and Bangladesh on Sunday, killing more than 38 people.

The Bangladesh Meteorological Department said the cyclone was “one of longest in the country’s history” and blamed climate change for the shift.

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