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Urbanization fueling India’s deadly heat wave

An Indian laborer at a construction site in Ahmadabad, India on May 28. Temperatures across much of northern and western India have hovered around 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) for weeks. (AP Photo/Ajit Solanki)

In India, rapid urbanization is fueling a deadly heat wave that is encouraging even greater urbanization. Under this cruel cycle, soaring temperatures are ruining farm crops and prompting an exodus of villagers to shantytowns in and near cities.

BP Yadav, head of the India Meteorological Department’s national weather forecasting center, tells the Independent’s Alexandra Sims that global warming and urban development are behind the skyrocketing temperatures. The relentless heat has melted pavement in Valsad, Gujarat, causing pedestrians to lose their shoes as they cross roads. (Watch a video of this from the Indian broadcaster NDTV below.)

Meanwhile, Gavin Fernando reports for the Australian website news. that tens of thousands of farmers and villagers have abandoned rural areas for cities. Some farmers distraught over losing their crops and livelihoods have committed suicide. The searing heat, coupled with a lack of rain, has triggered drought conditions and water shortages, the Independent notes. Phalodi, a small city in the western state of Rajasthan, set a record of 51 degrees Celsius (124 degrees Farenheit).

During climate change talks in Paris late last year, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi placed the blame elsewhere. He suggested that wealthier nations with high fossil fuel consumption are responsible for India’s suffering, Fernando writes.

Here’s the video of the melting streets in Valsad:

The Independent

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