By Andrea Germanos | EcoWatch.com
India recorded its hottest day on the books last Thursday amid a scorching heatwave and “staggering” number of farmer suicides.
Sizzling at 51 degrees Celsius (123.8 degrees F), the temperature in the city of Phalodi in the western state of Rajasthan topped the nation’s previous record of 50.6 Celsius set in 1956.
The IMD [India Meteorological Department] has issued a red-level alert for Rajasthan as well as for other states like Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat, where temperatures, despite not having crossed the 50-degree mark, are higher than average.
India has recorded higher than normal temperatures throughout 2016.
Many areas are experiencing severe heat waves and state governments estimate more than 370 people killed so far.
And relief isn’t coming soon.
“Severe heatwave conditions will prevail in north, west India and central India for the next 10 days,” the IMD warns.
According to Laxman Singh Rathore, director general of the IMD, look to climate change for the cause in the increasing temperatures. “It has been observed that since 2001, places in northern India, especially in Rajasthan, are witnessing a rising temperature trend every year. The main reason is the excessive use of energy and emission of carbon dioxide. Factors like urbanization and industrialization too have added to the global warming phenomenon,” hestated.
There is a prolonged drought as well, withering crops and sprouting hopelessness in farmers.
“Constant failure of crops. Very low produce. He couldn’t recover the investments, could not pay back the bank loans. That’s why he killed himself,” said the brother of 41-year-old cotton and sugarcane farmer Srikrishna Pandit Agee who hanged himself this month.