Killer heatwave overwhelms under-prepared health-care system . . .
Parts of northern India are suffering from a severe heatwave with near-record high temperatures that have been blamed for hundreds of deaths. Temperatures have hovered around 40 Celsius across much of the country, with the city of Churu, in Rajasthan, reaching 50.8 degrees. Worst affected is the northeastern state of Bihar, where high temperatures have intensified a deadly encephalitis outbreak. At least 150 have died and hospitals are unequipped for the influx of patients.
Farmers on the brink . . .
Much of India is also in the throes of a drought, said to be the worst in decades. Nearly three-quarters of the state of Maharastra is suffering from drought-induced crop failure, and the southern city of Chennai has almost run out of water. The rural population is hurting, and farmers say the government-run crop insurance programs are ineffective. Nearly one-fifth of the 300,000 farmer suicides in India in the past 25 years have been linked to climate change.
Deafening silence at the top . . .
Climate change is unlikely to be on the agenda for U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s visit to India tomorrow. Indian Prime Minister Modi and U.S. President Trump are also unlikely to discuss it when they meet at the G20 Summit in Japan this week. The Canadian House of Commons declared a national climate emergency this month, but some are skeptical that the government’s climate plan – or that of the opposition Conservatives – will help Canada reach its greenhouse gas emission targets under the Paris Agreement on climate change. India’s deadly heatwave and others like it will continue until we truly tackle what a recent Australian report calls an “existential risk to civilization.”