Sweltering Heatwave Grips South and Southeast Asia, Disrupting Daily Life – South Asia Time

Sweltering Heatwave Grips South and Southeast Asia, Disrupting Daily Life

 May 12, 2024  

London — Millions of people across South and Southeast Asia are grappling with scorching temperatures as an intense heatwave sweeps through the region, prompting school closures and raising concerns about public health.

In the Philippines, thousands of schools, including those in the capital region of Metro Manila, have suspended in-person classes due to the oppressive heat. With half of the country’s provinces experiencing drought and nearly 31 others facing dry spells, the United Nations has called for greater support to help the nation prepare for future weather extremes.

The situation has been exacerbated by the ongoing El Niño event, which has brought hotter and drier conditions to the area. In Thailand, authorities have reported 30 heatstroke-related deaths this year and urged people to avoid outdoor activities as temperatures soar.

In Bangkok, temperatures reached a sweltering 40.1°C, with authorities warning of a possible “heat index” surpassing 52°C, factoring in humidity levels that make it difficult for the body to regulate temperature.

The heatwave has disrupted daily life across the region, affecting education and agriculture. Bangladesh closed all schools after temperatures soared to between 40°C and 42°C in some areas, affecting approximately 33 million children, according to Save the Children.

In India, where a massive election is underway, officials are grappling with the impact of the heat on voters. The World Meteorological Organization warns that Asia remains the world’s most disaster-hit region from weather-related hazards, with human-caused climate breakdown exacerbating extreme weather events.

As the region faces the brunt of these devastating heatwaves, urgent action is needed to address climate change and mitigate the impact on vulnerable communities.