Millions of people are facing a record heat wave in India and Pakistan. “It’s hard to drop below 36° at night,” says Eline Caillaud, a French teacher in Jaipur, in Rajasthan, which she considers to be “a huge island of heat”. A major franceinfo witness on Tuesday, she indicates that at 11:10 a.m., the temperature already peaks at 39°C and that in the middle of the afternoon, around 3 p.m., it can reach 45°C. This situation has been going on since March, she said. This record heat wave causes power cuts and water shortages for millions of inhabitants.
To continue to live properly, Eline Caillaud considers herself “privileged”. Thanks to her job as a teacher, she can work “often indoors”. She hydrates a lot. “Here in Rajasthan, people drink a lot of sweet or salty milk-based beverages that keep them cool”. She “wear light clothes of course, cotton to cope with these unbearable temperatures”.
This Frenchwoman living in India says that the inhabitants have adapted. For example, the authorities decided to “close schools in the afternoon” in Rajasthan, she testifies. On the other hand, “life goes on, people keep going to work, there are street vendors, tuk-tuk drivers are there, there are no particular changes despite the heat”she says.
This is an extraordinary situation confirmed by climatologist Robert Vautard, also Grand witness of franceinfo on Tuesday. In view of thea earliness, duration and spatial extent of the phenomenon, the latter is “totally exceptional”, assures the director of the Pierre Simon Laplace Institute of Climate Sciences. It indicates that India experienced during this month of April the highest temperatures ever known.
Simple weather phenomenon or manifestation of climate change? “The two”replies Robert Vautard. “Global warming slightly boosts extreme weather phenomena and particularly heat waves.” Can what is happening in India today happen in France one day? “No, not in this form”says the climatologist. “We will rather have very strong peaks”he says, however.