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
16 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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