Heatstroke kills 61 in Thailand so far this year — govt

Agence France-Presse
Heatstroke kills 61 in Thailand so far this year � govt
A woman takes shelter from the sun under an umbrella as she walks over a foot bridge in Bangkok on April 25, 2024. Extreme heat is scorching parts of South and Southeast Asia, prompting health warnings from authorities as high temperatures are recorded across the region.
AFP / Manan Vatsayayana

BANGKOK, Thailand — Heatstroke has killed 61 people in Thailand so far this year, more than in all of 2023, the health ministry said on Friday after weeks of scorching weather across the region.

A wave of exceptionally hot weather blasted Thailand in recent weeks, prompting authorities to issue warnings about scorching hot weather on a near-daily basis.

The health ministry said Friday that 61 people have died from heatstroke since the beginning of 2024, compared with 37 in the whole of 2023.

Thailand's northeast -- the agricultural heartland -- saw the highest number of deaths, the ministry said.

Scientists have long warned human-induced climate change will produce more frequent, longer and more intense heatwaves.

While the El Nino phenomenon is helping drive this year's exceptionally warm weather, Asia is also warming faster than the global average, according to the United Nations' World Meteorological Organization.

Apichart Vachiraphan, deputy of Thailand's Department of Disease Control, warned people with underlying medical conditions to limit their time outdoors.

The kingdom this year experienced a delay in its monsoon season, with sweltering hot weather lasting longer than normal.

Storms have hit parts of the kingdom this week, lowering temperatures but bringing warnings from the authorities of potential flash flooding.

In April, the kingdom recorded a temperature of 44.2 degrees Celsius (111.6 degrees Fahrenheit) recorded in the northern province of Lampang -- just shy of the all-time national record of 44.6C hit last year.

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