The record-breaking heatwave was made 30 times more likely due to climate change, reported scientists yesterday (May 23). Both India and Pakistan have faced temperatures reaching 51 degrees celsius. The month of March was the hottest recorded in India in 122 years, with several heat records broken across the country.
The extreme weather has had other knock-on effects – such as severe power outages and surging coal demand as people scramble to keep cool.
Meanwhile, lakes burst their banks due to a rapid glacier melt.
The heatwave also drives concerns about a global food shortage as wheat yields plummeted.
Indian paper the Tribune reported how some areas were achieving half the level of wheat they would usually.
This led India to declare a ban on all wheat exports in mid-May.
It threatens to put even further pressure on global food affordability, adding to the severe impacts of the Covid pandemic and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The G7 has repeatedly called on countries not to resort to protectionist policies in the face of a food crisis, to keep agricultural trade flowing.
But German Development Minister Svenja Schulze has made a plea not to blame India too harshly for its trade move, saying at a G7 summit: “They’re reacting to their very own real crisis.”
Shefali Sharma, Europe director of the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, said: “It’s a wake-up call to re-examine how we have set up our food system and whether we’re too dependent on a few crops and a few companies to deliver those crops, and so what happens when we have massive crop failure as we’re seeing now in India?”
India’s devastated wheat yield comes amid rising fears Russia’s invasion of Ukraine could spark a global food crisis which may last for years.
READ MORE: Putin sparks apocalyptic warning as world’s wheat supplies may dry up [REVEAL]
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said the war had worsened food insecurity in poorer nations due to rising prices.
He added some countries may face long-term famines without Ukrainian exports.
The war has reduced the global supply of commodities such as cooking oil, wheat and grain typically traded out of Ukrainian ports.
The UN state global food prices are almost 30 percent higher than the same time last year.
Mr Guterres said the conflict, alongside the impacts of climate change and the pandemic, “threatens to tip tens of millions of people over the edge into food insecurity followed by malnutrition, mass hunger and famine”.
He added: “There is enough food in our world now if we act together.
“But unless we solve this problem today, we face the spectre of global food shortage in the coming months.”
He argued the only effective solution would be to reintegrate Ukraine’s food production alongside Russian and Belarusian fertiliser back into the market.