Heatwave paralyses normal life

A searing heatwave condition, which is prevailing for the more than a week, has severely paralysed normal life across the country.No respite from the blistering heat is in sight in the capital and other major cities of the country as the temperature has continued rising. The masses, particularly lower and middle-income working class people including day labourers, have been the worst sufferers of the sweltering temperatures. So dire is the situation that people are not leaving their homes unless there is an emergency.

Abdur Rahim, 55, a rickshaw puller in the capital, said that he was forced to pull his rickshaw to make a living for his family. “But my daily income has reduced as there are fewer passengers,” he said. Towhidul, another rickshaw puller, echoing Rahim’s statement said that the scorching heat was not only affecting them physically, but also financially.

Even education was being hampered especially in the rural areas, with the number of classes at many schools having been reduced out of consideration for the suffering of students. Furthermore, Power outages in parts of the country were adding to the woes of the general public, as reported by our district correspondents. This year’s highest temperature was recorded 40 degrees Celsius in Rajshahi on Monday. The highest temperature in the city on the previous two days was 39.9 degrees Celsius.

The meteorological office has warned that the heat wave conditions will continue over next couple of days. According to met office predictions, a mild to moderate heatwave is sweeping over Rajshahi and Khulna divisions and the regions of Tangail, Faridpur, Gopalganj, Dhaka and Rangmati and it
may continue. The situation may turn more severe if the humidity levels go up further, warn meteorologists.

Meanwhile, keeping pace with the rise in temperatures the number of diarrhoea patients in and around the capital has seen a sharp rise over the past few weeks. People of all ages are being infected with diarrheal diseases every day. Physicians say that children and the elderly face particularly high risks of dehydration, jaundice and heatstroke during the heatwave.

The main diarrhea treatment center of the capital, International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh (icddr, b) is having more patients than usual time. Authorities concerned said they were having diarrhea patients in much higher numbers this year when compared to the previous year. Diarrheal diseases in the country usually see a rise during the summer season every year but this year the disease is spreading abnormally.

icddr, b statistics shows the pressure of diarrhea patients starts increasing from March. At that time the hospital usually has to deal with 600 patients daily but this time around the number has crossed 900. “During the second week this month we admitted 923 patients in 24 hours, each day we are having 850-900 patients but from past week the number has started decreasing,” icddr,b hospital chief Dr Azharul Islam Khan told Bangladesh Post on Saturday.

In the first 28 days of this month more than 22,000-diarrhea patients were admitted to the hospital, 30 percent of whom were children, the icddr, b statistics shows. Dr Azharul said, “To avoid diarrhoeal diseases drinking pure water is must. Foods should be kept at normal temperature and habits like hand washing, cleanliness and refraining from staying outside for long are also essential.” “If one becomes sick anyway, one should immediately go to nearby hospital for treatment,” he concluded.