Death toll due to sweltering heat in Bangladesh rises to four

Dhaka, April 21 (IANS) The death toll due to scorching heat in Bangladesh has mounted to four on Sunday.

A middle-aged woman reportedly died on Sunday morning, pushing the death toll due to blistering heat to four in the past two days, Xinhua news agency reported.

Millions of people are at risk of heat-related impacts in the country, experts have warned, linking the early onset of an intense summer to climate change.

To cope with the unbearable heat, the government has decided to keep all schools, colleges, madrasas, and technical education institutions across the country closed from April 21 to 27.

The Bangladeshi government urged the relevant authorities to take precautionary measures to manage blistering summer heat, which touched highs of 42 degrees Celsius in parts of the country.

The heat started in early April and continues to leave the people gasping in whatever shade they find in Dhaka and elsewhere in the country.

Bangladesh Meteorological Department (BMD) has already issued a “heatwave warning”. “A very severe heatwave is sweeping over Pabna, Jashore and Chuadanga districts as severe heat wave is sweeping over Dhaka and rest part of Khulna divisions and the district of Rajshahi,” it said on Sunday.

Afroza Sultana, a meteorologist who works at the Storm Warning Centre of the BMD told Xinhua on Sunday that there is a possibility of further severe to very severe heat waves later this month with maximum temperatures reaching up to 45 degrees Celsius in parts of the country.

Sultana said Bangladesh’s highest temperature of this summer season was recorded at 42.6 degrees Celsius in Jashore on Saturday.

In Dhaka, the temperature rose to 40 degrees Celsius Saturday, she said.

“The prevailing heat wave over several divisions including Rangpur may continue and may spread further for the next couple of days,” she added, quoting the BMD’s “Warning Message for Heat Wave”.

Due to increasing moisture incursions, she said the discomfort may increase in the South Asian country which sits on a massive river delta.

In recent years, natural disasters like floods and heatwaves induced by extreme weather owing to climate change have caused more frequent-than-usual disasters in the country of some 165 million population.

Experts said the heatwaves would likely escalate in the coming years due to erratic rainfall and high temperatures, posing a threat to Bangladesh, one of the biggest victims of global warming.

Bangladesh’s capital Dhaka experienced 40.6 degrees Celsius on April 16 last year, the highest in the capital in 58 years.

To cope with the unbearable heat, the government has decided to keep all schools, colleges, madrasas, and technical education institutions across the country closed from April 21 to 27.

–IANS

int/svn

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