Southeast Asia still overwhelmed by extreme heat wave

Southeast Asia was still facing abnormally high temperatures on Sunday April 28, with peaks above 45°C

Southeast Asia still overwhelmed by extreme heat wave

Southeast Asia was still facing abnormally high temperatures on Sunday April 28, with peaks above 45°C. Manila decreed on Sunday the suspension of face-to-face classes in all public schools for two days, in particular because of the heat.

“In view of the latest heat index forecasts (…) and the announcement of a national transport strike, all public schools in the country will have to implement asynchronous/remote classes [Monday] 29 and [Tuesday ] April 30,” the education ministry said on Facebook. The measure concerns more than 47,000 establishments.

In Bangladesh, schools reopened on Sunday after several days of closure due to unbearable heat. Millions of students have returned to class despite a high heat alert still active, nursery schools remaining closed while primary school timetables have been shortened.

In Burma, where the mercury reached 45.9°C in the town of Chauk (Central-West) on Wednesday, many seek coolness in the shade of trees in parks once the sun sets. In this country, in the grip of a civil conflict, with an obsolete electricity network, power cuts are frequent, between attacks on infrastructure and dried up gas reserves. Those who cannot afford a gasoline generator can thus spend more than eight hours a day without power and therefore without air conditioning.

The Philippines, one of the most vulnerable countries

On Tuesday, the United Nations said that Asia is warming particularly quickly, after temperature records were broken across the world in 2023. On this continent, the Philippines is among the countries most vulnerable to the consequences of climate change . The thermometer showed 38.8°C in the capital, Manila, on Saturday – a figure never before reached – with a heat index (felt temperature) of 45°C, according to national statistics. More than 40°C was recorded on the same day in Camiling, northwest Tarlac province, setting a national record in 2024.

Experts believe that these heat waves are made longer, more intense and more frequent by global warming. The maximum temperatures recorded on average during the week in Dhaka exceeded by 4°C to 5°C the averages established over the last thirty years during the same period of the year.

In Thailand, the national weather agency warned of the mercury reaching 44.1°C in northern Phetchabun province on Sunday. In neighboring Cambodia, the minister of water and meteorology warned that temperatures could reach up to 43°C in the country over the coming week, calling on the population to be vigilant.

In Vietnam's northern Nghe An province, it was 43.2°C on Saturday, local media reported. Between 38°C and 41°C are still expected in the coming days in the north of the country. India too, in South Asia, is cooking in the middle of an electoral exercise. The Indian Meteorological Department has warned that the active heatwave will continue in several states this weekend. The thermometer could be close to 44°C in places.