Asia is hit by an unbearable heat wave

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Temperature records are largely shattered, across countries across Asia, as a brutal heat wave continues to affect large parts of the continent, with little relief in sight.

In Southeast Asia, some countries posted their highest temperatures on record this week, while scorching heat in the Indian subcontinent killed more than a dozen people.

Laos announces heat records

Laos is the latest country to set a new all-time record as Luang Prabang hit 42.7°C, according weather historian Maximiliano Herrera.

Thailand has exceeded 45°

Over the past few days, Thailand has exceeded 45° for the first time in its history, according Herrera, using data from the Thai Meteorological Department. The town of Tak in the northwest reached 45.4°C last week!

Earlier this month, Thai authorities issued a health alert for several provinces as the heat index was expected to reach 50.2°C in the Bang Na district of the capital Bangkok.

Policy concern

Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha expressed concern about “dangerously high temperatures in various parts of Thailand” and said that in the Bang Na area of ​​Bangkok, temperatures “could reach 52.3°C. C,” according to a statement.

Burma: we exceed 44°

Myanmar set a temperature record in April as Kalewa in central Sagaing region hit 44C, Herrera tweeted.

April and May are usually the hottest months of the year for South and Southeast Asia…

…, as temperatures rise before the onset of the monsoon rains and bring some relief.

But the heat in Thailand has been made worse by an intense smog season that has sent pollution levels soaring.

The northern tourist hotspot of Chiang Mai has ranked as the world’s most polluted city for seven consecutive days as smoke from wildfires and widespread crop burning deteriorated air quality. At least one hospital in the city said it had reached “full service capacity” as patients sought medical treatment for respiratory problems.

The scorching temperatures have also spread across China.

The country saw temperatures reaching 42.4°C in Yuanyang in the southeast – just 0.3°C off the national record in April, according to Herrera.

More than 100 weather stations in 12 provinces broke their April temperature record, according to climatologist Jim Yang.

While not breaking records in most cases, the heat was also widespread – and deadly – ​​across South Asia.

Pakistan, India, Nepal and Bangladesh all saw temperatures above 40°C for several days.

According to India’s meteorological department, 48 weather stations recorded temperatures above 42°C on Tuesday, the highest at 44.2°C in the eastern state of Odisha.

In the western state of Maharashtra, at least 13 people have died of heat stroke after attending an awards ceremony on Sunday. More than a million people attended the event in Navi Mumbai and between 50 and 60 people were hospitalized, according to a city police official.

Meanwhile, at least two states, Tripura in the northeast and West Bengal in the east, ordered schools closed this week as temperatures rose more than 5 degrees Celsius above the normal, state governments said, Reuters reported.

India’s Labor Ministry has issued an advisory to all states and regions to keep workers — especially outdoor laborers and miners — safe in the extreme heat. This includes providing adequate drinking water, emergency ice packs and frequent breaks.

Heat waves in India usually occur between March and July, but in recent years, these heat waves have become more intense, more frequent and longer.

Last year, India experienced a searing heat wave, where parts of the country reached over 49°C. As the impacts of the man-made climate crisis gather pace and global temperatures continue to rise increase, scientists say heat waves will only become more frequent.

In the tropics, which encompass much of Asia, people could be exposed to dangerous heat most days of the year, according to the study. Days of ‘extremely dangerous heat’ with 51C could double and experts say these levels of heat are pushing the limits of human survivability.

Extremely hot temperatures in South and Southeast Asia are expected to continue. Meanwhile, cooler conditions are on the way for much of China as temperatures are expected to drop from around 10°C above average to 10°C below average this weekend.

Catherine Mills Avatar