The almost unbearable bout of sweltering heat has endangered the normal life in the country. Besides the scorching sun and dry weather, shortage of electricity and water supply has added to the people’s sufferings in the urban areas. The ongoing ‘heat wave’ is also taking its toll on some selected agricultural crops.
Besides, it has also led to the outbreak of diseases like diarrhoea, compounding the sufferings of the people in many city areas. However, the people are unlikely to get relief from the current hot spell soon, as the Met office ruled out Monday any possibility of rain. Officials of the meteorological Department said higher temperature had been prompting the significant drop in rainfall.
According to the Met office, the country’s highest temperature was recorded at 40.5 Celsius on Sunday (April 20) at Rangamati. It was also the highest this year. The temperature was recorded at 39.5 (highest) both in Khulna and Rajshahi divisions on Monday, (April 21). Officially, a moderate heat wave is sweeping over Dhaka, Rajshahi, Rangpur and Khulna divisions, and the regions of Rangamati, Sylhet, Barisal and Patuakhali. It may continue for the next few days, Met office officials said.
Director of the office Md Shah Alam said that Rajshahi region, where normal rainfall in April is recorded at 75-80 millimeter (mm), had remained rainless over the month. The same happened in Dhaka, Chittagong and some other places across the country, he said. Only 61 mm of rain was recorded in the last 20 days in Dhaka, when the average rainfall in April is 147 mm. The Met office’s forecast for the next 24 hours (from Monday evening) showed that there was no possibility of rain, and the weather might remain dry across the country.
The high temperature and poor rainfall are taking a toll on agriculture also, with a drought-like situation prevailing in many areas of the country. Higher temperature is causing an increase in fungus in paddy fields, mango and litchi orchards in some places of the country. Jute production may be hit hurt by the dry condition, experts predicted. Alternative irrigation should be ensured for the sound growth of jute plants, suggests an official at the Department of Agriculture Extension.
The heat also raised the ferocity of diseases. As per ICDDR,B data, daily patient load during the last week was 578 on 14 April, 773 on 15 April, 676 on 16 April, 615 on 18 April, 666 on 19 April, 700 on 20 April . The number of diarrhoea patients has more than doubled, reaching 700, which was on an average 300 to 325 daily during normal times, chief physician of ICDDR,B Dr PK Bardhan told it on Monday.
“Still the situation is neither unusual nor unexpected. The number of patients will increase until the end of May,” he added. Dr Bardhan mentioned unsafe food and drinks which people are consuming orally as the main reasons for the outbreak of diarrhoea in this summer. As there is excessive heat, people take roadside drinks and foods, and are attacked with diarrhoea germs.
Besides, they are attacked with dehydration due to excessive heat and become sick as they cannot discharge the extra heat, the physician observed. Dr Bardhan advised the people to remain alert to any food they were taking irrespective of homemade or outdoor items, because those get stale very quickly due to excess heat. Also people should drink enough safe water to stay well in this summer, the physician suggested.
The ICCDR,B authorities have set up a tent on its premises to accommodate patients The hospital had to set up two makeshift treatment centres to accommodate the growing number of patients during the last two weeks, hospital sources said.