Bangkok: A severe heatwave has swept across much of Asia, causing deaths and school closures in India and record-breaking temperatures in China, media reports said on Tuesday.
Maximiliano Herrera, a climatologist and weather historian, described the unusually high temperatures as the “worst April heatwave in Asian history”, The Guardian reported.
In China, local media reported that record temperatures for April had been observed in many locations, including Chengdu, Zhejiang, Nanjing, Hangzhou and other areas of the Yangtze River delta region.
Unusually hot temperatures have also been reported in south-east Asia, including in Luang Prabang, Laos, which recorded 42.7 degrees Celsius this week, the highest reliable temperature in its history, according to Herrera.
In Thailand, the meteorological department said temperatures reached 44.6 degrees in Tak province on Sunday – matching the previous record reached in Mae Hong Son on April 28, 2016. It is predicted that temperatures could reach 45 degrees this week, The Guardian reported.
In Bangladesh, a country at the forefront of the climate crisis, temperatures soared above 40 degrees in the capital, Dhaka, on Saturday, the hottest day in 58 years, causing road surfaces to melt. An official from the Ministry of Environment, Forests, and Climate Change said that if the heat did not abate, they would declare a temperature emergency in certain areas.
In recent years, India has become particularly vulnerable to extreme heat and experts fear this year could be even worse. The April heatwave has battered north and east Indian states, with this week, the meteorological department issuing an orange warning of a severe heatwave in parts of Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal, The Guardian reported.