Thousands of Indians have turned to umbrellas, fruits and swimming pools as they try to cope with a brutal heatwave that has hit the country.

Average maximum temperatures in March and April in northern and central India were the highest since the country’s weather office started keeping records 122 years ago.

The heat has sparked an increase in demand for electricity, leading to outages in many states and fears of a coal shortage.

While summer temperatures have always been high in many Indian states, experts say India is now recording more intense, frequent heatwaves that are also longer in duration. The “root cause”, says climate scientist Roxy Mathew Koll, is global warming.

The brunt of this will be borne by poor Indians.

“Poor people have fewer resources to cool down as well as fewer options to stay inside, away from the heat,” says Dr Chandni Singh, senior researcher at Indian Institute for Human Settlements and a lead author at Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

India’s Meteorological Department said on Sunday that there would be some respite from the heatwave in north-western and central India this week.

Footage by Reuters

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