Half of Pakistan’s schoolchildren will be out of school for a week in anticipation of a heatwave with temperatures “six to eight degrees” above seasonal norms, the non-governmental organization Save the Children said. Thursday May 23. “At least 26 million children in Punjab, Pakistan’s most populous province – or 52% of primary and secondary students – will not go to school from May 25 to 31,” says the NGO.

The tests in exam classes will however be maintained, the authorities said, causing concern among parents because many schools are equipped with obsolete fans or suffer power cuts – up to fifteen hours a day in certain regions. .

Pakistani meteorological services announce several successive heat waves, the first at the end of May, then two others in June. Summer vacation usually begins June 1 in the country, the world’s fifth most populous nation, but also one of the most vulnerable to climate change.

Rains killed 144 people in the country in April

Unicef, for its part, calls for vigilance throughout South Asia, where, according to it, 76% of children – or 460 million – are exposed to temperatures above at least 35 degrees 83 days a year. They risk “dehydration, fever, tachycardia, cramps, migraines, fainting and coma”, underlines the UN agency, while urging parents to regularly offer water to their children to drink or to refresh their bodies.

Pakistan is increasingly vulnerable to extreme weather events, which scientists link to climate change. This poor country keeps repeating that its 240 million people (about 3% of the world’s population) are responsible for less than 1% of global greenhouse gas emissions.

And many are worried about the future: the April rains have already killed at least 144 people, including dozens of children, when their homes collapsed in torrential downpours. But the monsoon – and its share of floods, flash floods and damage – is due to arrive in July and will last until September.

In July and August, Syed Muhammad Tayyab Shah, an official with the natural disaster prevention service, has already announced, “Pakistan will experience above-normal precipitation and temperatures.”