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Dhaka     Thursday   20 June 2024

Bangladesh has dire future due to heat waves

Hasan Mahamud || risingbd.com

Published: 14:28, 19 May 2024  
Bangladesh has dire future due to heat waves

Temperatures in Bangladesh have reached unbearable levels for the past two years. Despite being a country with six seasons, the temperature was unbearable for most of the months. Bangladesh has experienced the longest heat wave in 75 years this year.

Some recent researches and reports of some related institutions predict that Bangladesh has a more dire future due to heat waves. Experts stated, all these heat waves have been driven by climate change. They alerted, low-income countries face dire consequences in the near future if action is not taken now to address the effects of climate change. As a result of climate change, not only the temperature is increasing, but also the people of this region are suffering from various diseases. Heat-related fatalities and cases of dehydration, electrolyte imbalances, fatigue, vomiting, fever, fainting, diarrhea, pneumonia, and sunstroke are on the rise in Bangladesh.

According to a research report jointly published by the World Weather Attribution and Red Cross Climate Center, a weather and climate research organization, South Asian countries including Bangladesh and India have experienced severe heat waves in recent years. Deaths are happening due to heat waves. Crop production is hampered by drought. Heat-waves that hit across Asia, including Bangladesh, during the summer may become more deadly.

As scorching heat waves sweep across the Asia Pacific region and countries hit record-breaking temperatures, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) warns that millions of people including children, the elderly, outdoor laborers and individuals with low immunity and pre-existing conditions are at very high risk. 

IFRC stated, National Societies in Bangladesh, Myanmar, Nepal, Malaysia, Philippines and more are already responding with urgent initiatives to help and relieve people through this relentless heat.

State Minister of Disaster Management and Relief Ministry Mohibbur Rahman said, we are starting the work of helping the people affected and victims of death.

He said, the government is also working to deal with the damage caused in agriculture, health and other sectors. We consider the heat wave as a disaster.

These things were mentioned in a research report published jointly by the World Weather Attribution and Red Cross Climate Center this month. The study’s findings were also cited in a report on the ongoing heat wave in Asia from the United Nations Humanitarian Assistance Agency (UNOCHA) on Friday. 

Climate change is, in large part, to blame. A report released last week by World Weather Attribution, a scientific group supported by the Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre, found all these heat waves have been driven by climate change. The Philippines heat wave would have been “virtually impossible” without human-induced climate change. Across South Asia, heat waves have become about 45 times more likely and almost a full degree Celsius hotter because of climate change. In coming years WWA finds that heat waves in Asia will become even more severe and frequent.    

Moe Thida Win, MRCS Deputy Director of Disaster Management Department says: “The Myanmar Red Cross Society (MRCS) is responding to heat waves by sharing efficient ways to prevent heat risks through education and awareness-raising, in Ayeyarwady, Mandalay, Magway, Yangon, Bago and Tanintharyi regions and Kayin and Mon States. This includes distributing brochures and posters, oral rehydration solutions, clean water, and towels to help people cool down at crowded places across the country. Access to clean water remains a daily challenge in certain areas of Myanmar and MRCS is meeting this need by delivering essential drinking water supplies.”  

The extreme temperature of 48.2°C was recorded in Chauk in central Myanmar’s Magway region on 28 April. According to Department of Meteorology and Hydrology of Myanmar, the highest temperature seen Naung-U, Minbu and Sagaing in Myanmar in April since records began 56 years ago, with a devastating impact on migrants and vulnerable populations, many millions of whom are already in humanitarian need.

He also said, “On top of this, cash assistance is being provided to over 250 low-income families from Shwe Pyi Thar, Dala, and Dagon Seikkan townships in Yangon, with support from German Red Cross. These families include daily laborers working under the sun, families with disabilities, and families with infants or elderly members. Additionally, MRCS is planning to install three cooling stations in these townships for resting areas.”

In the month of April, the Philippines reported having 118 cities and municipalities in a state of calamity because of the El Niño phenomenon. This prompted the national government to suspend classes at various levels. Meanwhile, 31 areas in Malaysia have been issued a level one heat wave alert - 35 deg C and 37 deg C for three consecutive days.

In Bangladesh, heat-related fatalities and cases of dehydration, electrolyte imbalances, fatigue, vomiting, fever, fainting, diarrhea, pneumonia, and sunstroke are on the rise.

On 29 April, Dhaka recorded its second highest temperature in six decades, reaching a scorching 40.6°C (105.1°F). With the average highest temperatures usually around 33.2°C (91.8°F), this year has seen increases of up to 6°C (10.8°F). Meteorologists forecast that the extreme heat will continue into May, necessitating ongoing vigilance and support for impacted communities. The current and prolonged heat wave is the longest since records began in 1948.

Kazi Shofiqul Azam, Secretary General of the Bangladesh Red Crescent Society said, “We are observing first-hand the critical conditions faced by outdoor workers like rickshaw pullers and construction workers who are significantly impacted. This heatwave undoubtedly represents a new and exceptionally dramatic event, the likes of which we have not witnessed in the past 76 years. Alerts are now in place in 57 out of 64 districts, affecting approximately 120 to 125 million people.

He also said, “The Bangladesh Red Crescent Society, along with the IFRC, is fully engaged and on the ground in urban areas, distributing water, saline packets, and essential supplies, and providing first aid to ensure that no one is left behind during this critical time.”