May 26, 2024

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Vietnam was crushed by record heat

Vietnam was crushed by record heat

Vietnam experienced three severe heat waves in April.
Nguyen Huy Kham / REUTERS

The Southeast Asian country broke more than 100 heat records in April. The mercury touched 44°C in two cities earlier in the week.

More than 100 temperature records fell in Vietnam in April, according to official data from the local weather service, as a deadly heat wave hit South and Southeast Asia. In recent weeks, extreme heat has gripped Asia from India to the Philippines, causing deaths from heat stroke and school closures. Scientists continue to warn that human-induced climate change will lead to more frequent, longer and more intense heat waves.

Vietnam experienced three severe heat waves in April, with the mercury reaching 44°C in two cities earlier this week, according to data released by the National Hydrometeorological Prediction Center on Friday. This figure is slightly lower than the highest temperature ever recorded in Vietnam, which was 44.2 °C on May 7, 2023. A total of 102 weather stations reported in April, with northern and central Vietnam most affected by the heat wave. The average was 2 to 4 degrees Celsius higher than the same period last year. Seven stations recorded 43 degree Celsius on Tuesday.

Hundreds of thousands of fish died

The most dramatic sign of extreme weather to hit Vietnam appeared in the southern province of Dong Nai, where hundreds of thousands of fish died in a reservoir. Footage showed residents wading and boating in the 300-hectare Song Mae Reservoir, with the water barely visible below a patch of dead fish. This mass die-off is attributed to a heat wave and water scarcity due to poor management. The Vietnam Meteorological Agency predicts a new heat wave in May, with temperatures 1.5 to 2.5 degrees Celsius higher than previous years.

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Although April and May are usually the hottest months of the year in Southeast Asia, experts say the El Nino phenomenon makes the heat particularly intense this time of year. Bangladesh and Burma also experienced high temperatures in April, with heatwaves that have killed at least 30 people in Thailand since the start of the year and high temperatures partly responsible for a deadly explosion at a Cambodian ammunition depot.

Catholic bishops in the Philippines are urging the faithful to pray for rain and cooler temperatures after a heat wave forced the government to close tens of thousands of schools. Calcutta, an Indian metropolis in the eastern part of the country, suffered its hottest April day since 1954 with 43 degrees Celsius. Even mountainous Nepal was affected, with the government issuing health warnings in late May and firefighters battling wildfires. An unusual amount.

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