Estimated to Have Killed 1,000 Brits, UK’s 40°C Heatwave Forcing NRIs to Visit India


‘How to beat the heat?’, ‘15 hacks to stay cool this summer without AC’ — Many UK citizens took to Google for answers and tips to beat the killer heatwave that has caused the temperature to rise to 40 degrees Celsius. Though UK residents have experienced mild summers of 20-23 degree Celsius, this year’s heat has proved quite unbearable for the Indian diaspora, accustomed to living in a tropical country like India.

Too hot to handle!

The customary football, rugby matches, picnics and potlucks in the open fields took a hit this season as the scorching weather pushed many youngsters particularly university students indoors. Talking to News18, one such student of University of Cardiff took the comparison to as far as the summers he had endured in his hometown in Udaipur.

“Too hot to handle! I was better off in India,” quips a 21-year-old Indian exchange student in the UK when asked to summarise the UK heatwave.

“I have been living in the UK for the past 3 years and this is the warmest summer I have experienced so far. The menacing heat coupled with the sunburns is keeping most of us cooped up in our rooms. We have to keep ourselves hydrated at all times, an experience very similar to my younger days in Rajasthan,” he added.

No Fan, No Relief

The UK is known for its fleeting summers as against the 10 months of cold weather, a reason why most houses do not have an AC or a fan. Niharika Jaiswal, who lives in Bristol, said, “We have never felt this uneasy in the absence of a fan as we are doing this summer. Our children are unable to sleep at night. I have an ailing mother-in-law who wakes up at odd hours at night due to the heat. This has adversely affected her mental health and physical health.”

When asked about their plans for summer holidays, Jaiswal said they have cancelled their plans to go to London and instead have been contemplating visiting their hometown in Kolkata in India.

Notably, Kolkata has been on a receiving end of many showers in the month of July, which the 38-year-old homemaker feels will be a respite for the family.

People Want to Work from Office

A very unique solution to dealing with the heat was put forth by senior brand manager at Amazon in Luxembourg, Subarna Mukherjee, who said she has been voluntarily going to office every day to reap the benefits of an air-conditioned set-up.

“Until previous years, we didn’t even realise when summers came and went by. The scenario is different this year with the heatwave. It is usually cold in the UK for most part of year, hence, most houses here do not find it economical to install a fan or an AC. My colleagues and I have been working from office every day, it’s the most convenient way to beat to heat,” says the 28-year-old marketing professional.

‘Not Just a Summer, Its Hell’

On July 19, the UK logged an official highest temperature at around 40.2 degrees Celsius. This combination of dry conditions and high temperatures also sparked wildfires throughout the Iberian Peninsula with thousands of acres of land burning up across Spain, Portugal and France.

“This is not just summer. It is just hell and will pretty soon become just the end of human life if we continue with our climate inaction,” tweeted French politician Melanie Vogel.

At least 10 people drowned during the heat. In a report by New Scient Live, Antonio Gasparrini at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine estimated that 948 people died in England and Wales because of the sweltering conditions between July 17 and 19. More than half, 495 people were estimated to have been aged 85 or older, a group that compromises roughly 2% of the nations’ population.

According to a study by an international team of leading climate scientists, climate change has made torrid heatwave that swept the UK 10 times more likely. They found that the frequency and scale of such events has increased due to human activities.

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