Saturday, April 15, 2017

Heatwave builds across northern India and Pakistan

It may happen almost every year at around this time, but a developing heatwave in South Asia is raising concerns about the potential health hazard posed by extreme temperatures.

In the last few days temperatures across many parts of India and Pakistan have been hovering around the 40 degree Celsius mark.

This, in itself, is not unusual. Temperatures of 40C occur in many parts of the region ahead of the monsoon rains, which usually do not reach northern parts until July.

What is of concern this year is that some of the hottest weather of the pre-monsoon period will likely coincide with the start of Ramadan. This will begin on May 26 and continue until June 24. During this time many Muslims refrain from eating and drinking between dawn and dusk.

During the latter part of Ramadan, and well before the cooling effect of monsoon rain arrives, there will be almost 14 hours between sunrise and sunset.

Strict observers of Ramadan will be placing their bodies under considerable stress if they abstain from hydrating themselves for the whole 14 hours.

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