Mercury soars in ruined Indus city

The ancient ruined city of Mohenjo-daro – one of Pakistan's most important historical and architectural landmarks – has once more achieved global significance, almost 4000 years after the sudden decline of its great Indus Valley civilization, by being struck by the fourth highest temperature ever recorded.

On 26th May, government scientists recorded a temperature in the UNESCO World Heritage Site of a staggering 53.7C. The impact of the searing sunshine on Mohenjo-daro might have been minimal, what with it being a ruined city, but for the nearby residents of the distinctly un-ruined town of Larkana the record-breaking heat was less of a piece of interesting trivia and more of a living nightmare. At least four people died and many more were hospitalised as the town ground to a halt under the punishing heat, which pushed through the 50C mark for several days running. The situation was exacerbated by a spate of power cuts which prevented people from using air conditioning or fridges.

Highest recorded temperatures

57.8C – Al-Aziziyah, Libya (1922)
56.7C – Death Valley, USA (1913)
53.9C – Tirat Zvi, Israel (1942)
53.7C – Mohenjo-daro, Pakistan (2010)

Highest recorded UK temperature

38.5C – Brogdale, Kent (2003)