The heatwave across Europe is being considered its worst ever, with temperatures reaching record levels, in some cases 40degreese celsius, in many countries.
Indian students, who are in Europe, might not be strangers to hot and humid weather considering the average temperature on normal days back home but say that the heatwave did have an effect on their day-to-day life.
Indian students in the UK miss flights, hang out at air conditioned spots
“For three consecutive days, we experienced temperatures around 40 degrees celsius. We didn’t have in-person classes for a few days, public transport was also affected, especially buses and trains. Railway tracks, because they are made of steel, expanded as they got hotter, and instances of engine overheating also occurred,” said Hrithik Bhate, an MSc advertising and marketing student at Nottingham Trent University in the United Kingdom, which saw one of the most severe heat waves in the continent.
A tweet by the UK’s Network Rail informed passengers, on Wednesday, that the heatwave led to a fire that spread onto the railway line in Sandy, Bedfordshire, on the route between Peterborough and King’s Cross. The images shared by the public body under the Department of Transport also showed that tracks had turned black after catching fire. A train signal also reportedly melted due to the impact of the heat.
Students also stated that many who were going to board their flights to different destinations were not able to reach them on time. “Some of my friends who were trying to catch flights from the UK were travelling by buses and trains to reach the airport but they were not able to make it. Luton Airport in London, for example, had to close its runway because of heat damage,” said Shriya Shripannavar, a student in Nottingham.
“I avail the services of gyms and libraries from my University but both the places closed earlier than usual when the temperatures were high. We don’t have table or ceiling fans in our accommodation because the usual temperature here is around 14-15 degrees celsius. Even though being from Mumbai, it was not completely unmanageable but still me and my roommates hung out at indoor places more to escape the heat,” added Shriya.
Students in France say temperature increasing year on year
The land of art and culture, France also was not spared from the heat as more than 30,000 people have been compelled to abandon their homes, while meteorologists have warned of a “heat apocalypse” in France. Students like Vishnu Nair, who is currently in Northwest France’s Rennes, saw the heat wave as more of a ‘summer in Europe’. “I don’t have classes as of now due to Summer but yes the temperature is increasing year on year. We do have heaters but not coolers at our apartment. But overall, people in France make the most of summer because sunbathing and picnics in the park are part of their schedule during this season, which is what I have witnessed this time around too. There were no particular issues with public transport as well,” said Vishnu, who is pursuing an MSc in international luxury and brand management at Rennes School of Business.
Students in Germany receive advisories on the heatwave
Concerns have also been raised in Germany where temperatures have risen, especially in the West. The German Farmers’ Association president has also warned of “major losses” in food production amid fears of drought due to the heatwave.
“My university did not cancel any classes or such, but they did issue a notice that there would be more ventilation and open windows will be mandatory, while also setting up some cool water stations around the University,” said Bilal Shaikh, a Masters in IT student from Frankfurt University of Applied Sciences who added that the rules by the institution are in effect till July 29(a copy of the mail is with FPJ). “We have been wearing light clothing, drinking more water than usual, and are avoiding trips to outdoor areas,” added Bilal who is also working at a firm in Berlin.
Current heatwave has drastic effects but possible solutions in sight
Experts from the University of Reading in the UK have sounded the alarm bells about the risk that the heat wave poses to ordinary citizens on the official website of the institution. “ We have had heatwaves in the UK before, but the intensity of heat that has been forecast, which will either break UK records or at least get very close, is enough to kill people and animals, damage property, and hobble the economy,” said a statement by Professor Hannah Cloke, a natural hazards researcher at the public University.
The solution to dealing with this situation lies in infrastructural changes according to Nigel Arnell, Professor of Climate System Science. “Regulations on overheating are a good start – but also retrofitting our poorly performing stock of buildings. This will help us deal with rising energy bills in winter too. We need to make sure our infrastructure and important bits of kit are resilient to the higher temperatures we are seeing this week and expecting to see more in the future. And we need to build in more greenery in our cities to lower temperatures,” said the statement by the professor.