Schools across South and Southeast Asia close due to record-breaking temps

Schools across South and Southeast Asia close due to record-breaking tempsSchools across South and Southeast Asia close due to record-breaking temps
via AP (left), The Straits Times (right)
Ryan General
6 days ago
Extreme heat has forced school closures across South Asia and Southeast Asia, impacting millions of students in both regions. 
Key points:
  • The region has been experiencing dangerous heat in recent weeks.
  • Schools in many of these countries often lack proper ventilation and packed with up to 70 students per classroom. 
  • Some schools shut down while others resorted to shorter school days to avoid peak heat hours.
The details:
  • Since March, the heatwave has gripped countries like India, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines.
  • Actual temperatures range between 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) to 48.2°C (118.8°F), while the heat index ranges much higher. Exposure to intense heat may cause heat stroke, exhaustion, cramps or rashes.
  • In Bangladesh, all schools were shut down after temperatures reached above 40°C (104°F).
  • Cambodia is experiencing its hottest temperatures in 170 years, reaching as high as 43°C (109°F). Teachers in Cambodia report seeing students “sweating through their uniforms” in poorly ventilated classrooms.
  • In India, where temperatures hit over 42°C (107.6°F), the weather department has forecast that the heat wave will continue until July.
  • Parts of Thailand report temperatures reaching 44°C (111.2), nearing the country’s all-time record of 44.6°C (112.28°F) seen in 2016 and 2023.
  • In the Philippines, millions of students were forced to stay home as heat indexes reached a dangerous 45°C (113°F). 
  • Some parts of Myanmar reportedly experienced record high temperatures, with at least one town surpassing 48.2°C (118.8°F).
  • The power grids are struggling to keep up with the surge in demand for air conditioning, leading to blackouts in some areas.
  • Scientists attribute the intense heat to human-induced climate change, increase in global temperatures and El Nino, a naturally occurring climate phenomenon.
Tangent:
  • The World Meteorological Organization reports that Asia is warming faster than the rest of the world, making it more vulnerable to extreme heat events. 
  • The heatwave is also impacting agriculture, with reports of crop failures and livestock deaths.
What’s next:
  • Scientists warn that without significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, heatwaves will become more frequent and severe in the coming years.
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