Thousands Pray for Rain in Bangladesh Amid Scorching Heatwave

Thousands in Bangladesh pray for rain as extreme heatwave forces school closures, raising climate change concerns for vulnerable children.

Muhammad Jawad
New Update
Thousands Pray for Rain in Bangladesh Amid Scorching Heatwave

Thousands Pray for Rain in Bangladesh Amid Scorching Heatwave

Thousands of Bangladeshis gathered in mosques and rural fields on Wednesday to pray for rain amid an extreme heatwave that has prompted authorities to shut down schools across the country. The heatwave has caused average maximum temperatures in the capital Dhaka to soar 4-5 degrees Celsius higher than the 30-year average for the same period, making life "unbearable" for many.

Muslim worshippers gathered to pray for relief from the scorching heat, which is expected to continue for at least another week. An Islamic cleric leading a prayer service for 1,000 people said, "Life has become unbearable due to lack of rains. Poor people are suffering immensely." Similar prayer services were held in several other parts of Bangladesh, with the country's largest Islamist party, Jamaat-e-Islami, calling on its members to join the services.

Why this matters: The extreme heatwave in Bangladesh highlights the severe impacts of climate change on one of the world's most vulnerable countries. The situation has forced the closure of schools, affecting the education of millions of children, and poses grave risks to public health, particularly for newborns, infants, and young children.

The heatwave has also contributed to outbreaks of diarrhea in the southern coastal district of Patuakhali due to increased salinity in local water sources, which is linked to climate change. Hospitals and clinics have been asked to prepare for a higher patient load due to heat-related illnesses.

The UN children's agency, UNICEF, has urged parents to keep their children hydrated and safe during the heatwave. According to UNICEF's 2021 Children's Climate Risk Index, children in Bangladesh are at "extremely high risk" of the impacts of climate change. Experts warn that the climate crisis is disproportionately affecting the poorest children in Bangladesh and call for urgent action to reduce warming temperatures and factor children into decision-making and climate finance.

The Bangladesh Meteorological Department has confirmed the extreme heat, with April being one of the hottest months since the country's independence in 1971. Authorities have warned that the high temperatures are expected to continue until at least April 27th, prompting the government to extend the closure of schools and colleges. The state minister for education, Shamsun Nahar, stated that a decision on further extending the closure will be taken on Saturday after observing the weather conditions.

Key Takeaways

  • Thousands in Bangladesh pray for rain amid extreme heatwave, causing school closures.
  • Heatwave raises temperatures 4-5°C above average, making life "unbearable" for many.
  • Heatwave contributes to diarrhea outbreaks due to increased water salinity, a climate change impact.
  • UNICEF urges parents to keep children hydrated and safe, as Bangladesh children face "extremely high risk" from climate change.
  • Authorities extend school closures as heatwave is expected to continue until at least April 27th.