India’s worst ever heatwave is melting roads and killing hundreds

Pedestrians are literally being stopped in their tracks as they stick to molten pavement.

Road markings appear distorted as the asphalt starts to melt due to the high temperature in New Delhi, India, 27 May 2015.

The asphalt in New Delhi melted last year as well as India experienced a soaring heatwave. Source: EPA

Eastern Australia isn’t the only region that’s unseasonably warm right now; a record-breaking heatwave has seen temperatures soar to over 50° Celsius in recent days.

Newspapers across the country have reported hundreds of people dying from heatstroke in recent weeks and farmer suicides rise. The sustained high temperatures have caused roads to melt, stopping pedestrians in their tracks.

Temperatures peaked in the northern desert province of Rajasthan where they hit 51° Celsius, the highest in the country’s recorded history.

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Scorching heat melts roads in Gujarat's Valsadhttps://t.co/dY9BkLmCwm — Times of India (@timesofindia) May 21, 2016
In his April radio broadcast, Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the ongoing drought, urging villages to conserve water and consider planting less water-intensive crops.

A similar heatwave in May last year reportedly killed over 2,000 people. It seems that event can no longer be regarded as a one-off occurrence.

"It's not just an unusually hot summer, it is climate change," the Indian Government’s Science Minister said at the time.

India and its 1.25 billion inhabitants is the world’s fourth largest emitter of greenhouse gases, after China, the US and the European Union. It is responsible for roughly 6% of global emissions. 

Forecasts of rains today in the capital of New Delhi are likely to bring some relief. 

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2 min read
Published 24 May 2016 at 3:32pm
By Ben Winsor

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