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Thailand Raises Alarms as Heatstroke Claims 30 Lives

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Thailand Heatstroke

Thailand, on Thursday, raised fresh alarms about scorching temperatures, citing heatstroke-related fatalities that have already claimed the lives of at least 30 people this year.

In Bangkok, city authorities issued an extreme heat advisory as the heat index was projected to soar above 52°C. Temperatures in the urban expanse of the Thai capital peaked at 40.1°C on Wednesday, with similar levels anticipated for Thursday.

This week, a surge of intense heat has swept through parts of South and Southeast Asia, prompting the suspension of classes in schools across the Philippines and prayers for rain among worshippers in Bangladesh.

According to Bangkok’s environment department, the heat index reached an “extremely dangerous” level on Thursday. Authorities in Udon Thani province, located in the rural northeast of the country, also cautioned about scorching temperatures.

The Ministry of Health reported on Wednesday that 30 people had succumbed to heatstroke between January 1 and April 17, compared to 37 throughout the entirety of 2023.

Direk Khampaen, deputy director-general of Thailand’s Department of Disease Control, emphasised the importance of staying indoors and staying hydrated for older individuals and those with underlying health conditions, including obesity.

April typically marks the peak of Thailand’s hot season, intensified this year by the El Niño weather pattern. In 2023, the United Nations weather and climate agency observed record-breaking levels of heat stress worldwide, with Asia experiencing remarkably rapid warming.

Thailand has endured a heatwave this week, with temperatures reaching 44.2°C in the northern province of Lampang on Monday—just shy of the national record of 44.6°C set last year.

Across the border in Myanmar, temperatures soared to 45.9°C on Wednesday, with similar conditions expected on Thursday.

Meanwhile, Myanmar’s ongoing political unrest following the military coup in 2021 has resulted in widespread power outages, hindering access to fans and air conditioning.

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