DHAKA – A searing heatwave in Bangladesh spurred the closure of primary schools this week and triggered frequent power cuts, worsening conditions for residents unable to run fans to cool themselves as weather officials warned relief was not imminent.
The maximum temperature soared to nearly 41 deg C from 32 deg C 10 days ago. The Bangladesh Meteorological Department warned that there was no end in sight for the heat.
Scientists have said climate change is contributing to more frequent, severe and longer heatwaves during summer months.
Bangladesh could face power cuts for two more weeks, said Mr Nasrul Hamid, Minister of State for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources, as a fuel shortage sparked shutdowns of several power-generating units, including its biggest coal-fired plant.
“Due to the global energy crisis and the unprecedented surge in international currency markets, we are exposed to this unwanted load shedding,” Mr Hamid said in a Facebook post late on Monday (June 5).
The heatwave comes as the country already grapples with power cuts that have hurt its economy in recent months, including its crucial apparel sector, which accounts for more than 80 per cent of its exports.
“The weather is unreasonably hot these days but the hours-long power cuts further add to our miseries,” said Mr Mizanur Rahman, a shopkeeper in the capital Dhaka.
Residents were seeking medical attention due to the heat.
“We are getting many patients who have suffered heatstroke or other heat-related problems,” said Mr Shafiqul Islam, a physician in the north-western part of the country.
The loss of exports will exacerbate issues around the country’s dollar reserves, which have plunged by nearly a third in the 12 months through April to a seven-year low, and limited its ability to pay for fuel imports.
“I am deeply sorry for your suffering. I also want to assure you this situation is temporary. We will be back in good condition very soon,” Mr Hamid said.
This article was first published in Asia One . All contents and images are copyright to their respective owners and sources.