Deadly heatwave strikes Thailand: 61 lives lost

Photo courtesy of Bangkok Post

The Ministry of Public Health announced a staggering toll: the heatwave has claimed the lives of 61 individuals in Thailand this year, a sharp rise from the 37 casualties recorded last year.

Dr Apichart Vachiraphan, Deputy Director-General of the Department of Disease Control (DDC) disclosed that Most of the heatwave fatalities, a harrowing 33, have devastated families in Thailand’s northeastern region. Trailing behind are 13 fatalities in the central and western regions, with the north mourning 10 losses.

Dr Apichart disclosed that many victims were grappling with underlying medical conditions, frequently indulged in alcohol, and toiled under the scorching sun. The official tally of heat-related fatalities, spanning from 2018 to May 7 this year, stood at a chilling 200.

Despite the occasional reprieve of rain, Dr Apichart cautioned that the threat of heat stroke persists in regions grappling with soaring temperatures, posing a lethal risk of organ failure and mortality.

Recognising the gravity of the situation, he enumerated symptoms including skin redness sans sweating, rapid pulse, headache, dizziness, confusion, and even unconsciousness. Urgent cooling of the body is advised before seeking medical aid for suspected heat stroke victims.

To safeguard against this deadly menace, the public is urged to shun outdoor activities from 11am to 3pm, prioritise hydration, eschew caffeine, alcohol, and sugary drinks, and opt for loose clothing, reported Bangkok Post.

Those toiling under the sun are implored to take frequent shade breaks.

In related news, in a tragic turn of events, a 39 year old man succumbed to the extreme heat in Thailand, passing away inside his zinc-clad home. His sister recounted the harrowing moments leading up to his final breath, revealing his last words before his untimely death.

In other news, the Basic Education Commission’s secretary-general issued guidance to all school administrations to halt in-person teachings during periods of extreme heat. Thanu Wongchinda’s announcement aims to safeguard the health of both students and teachers, considering the potential risk of heat stroke.

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Puntid Tantivangphaisal

Originally from Hong Kong, Puntid moved to Bangkok in 2020 to pursue further studies in translation. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Comparative Literature from the University of Hong Kong. Puntid spent 8 years living in Manchester, UK. Before joining The Thaiger, Puntid has been a freelance translator for 2 years. In her free time, she enjoys swimming and listening to music, as well as writing short fiction and poetry.

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