Severe Heatwave Grips Bangladesh, Temperatures Soar to 40.6°C

Scorching heatwave ravages Bangladesh, disrupting daily life, straining healthcare, and highlighting the urgent need for climate action.

Muhammad Jawad
New Update
Severe Heatwave Grips Bangladesh, Temperatures Soar to 40.6°C

Severe Heatwave Grips Bangladesh, Temperatures Soar to 40.6°C

A severe heatwave has been sweeping over 7 districts in Bangladesh, with temperatures reaching as high as 40.6°C in Khulna, Jashore, and Chuadanga, according to the Bangladesh Meteorological Department's forecast for April 23, 2024. The heatwave is expected to continue for the next three days, affecting Pabna, Chuadanga, Rajshahi, Tangail, Jashore, and Kushtia districts, as well as parts of Rangpur, Barishal, Mymensingh, Dhaka, and Khulna divisions.

The extreme heat has significantly disrupted daily life, leading to school and college closures, with many people staying indoors to avoid the scorching temperatures. The government has closed educational institutions for seven days due to the heat, and several universities have switched to online classes. Dhaka University authorities have decided to hold all classes online until further notice to avoid health risks, although exams will continue as usual.

The heatwave has already claimed at least 6 lives due to suspected heatstroke and has caused significant discomfort for residents, with reports of headaches, diarrhea, and difficulty sleeping. Hospitals in the affected districts have seen a surge in patients with various heat-related illnesses, including stomach ache, cold, fever, cough, diarrhea, pneumonia, dehydration, and heat stroke, leading to a bed crisis. The authorities have instructed hospitals to be prepared to deal with the adverse conditions and prioritize treatment for those affected by the heatwave.

The intense heat has also had devastating impacts on the poultry and fisheries sectors. Thousands of poultry birds have died, forcing some farms to shut down, and fish farmers are struggling to maintain ideal water conditions as oxygen levels plummet and poisonous gases emerge. Domesticated animals like rabbits and other birds have also died in large numbers due to heat stroke.

Why this matters: The severe heatwave in Bangladesh highlights the increasing frequency and intensity of extreme weather events due to climate change. The devastating impacts on public health, agriculture, and the economy underscore the urgent need for adaptation measures and global efforts to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions.

Meteorologists attribute the intense heat to a decline in precipitation, fewer winter days, and the overall rise in average temperatures, which they say is exacerbated by climate change factors such as deforestation, increased greenhouse gas emissions, and unplanned urbanization. The BMD has warned that the heat may cause more discomfort due to the excess water vapor in the air, and that heavy rain is expected in a week or so, which may provide some relief. Health experts are advising people to minimize outdoor activities and calling for changes in the country's development structure to prevent future heat-related dangers.

Key Takeaways

  • Severe heatwave in 7 Bangladesh districts, temps up to 40.6°C.
  • Schools, colleges closed for 7 days; universities switch to online classes.
  • Heatwave claims 6 lives, causes surge in heat-related illnesses.
  • Poultry, fisheries sectors severely impacted with mass animal deaths.
  • Heatwave linked to climate change factors like deforestation, emissions.