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Thailand Records 61 Heatstroke Deaths in 2024 Amid Intense Heatwave

The scorching heatwave currently gripping Thailand has tragically claimed the lives of 61 individuals from heatstroke so far this year, surpassing the total fatalities recorded for the entire year of 2023, as disclosed by the health ministry.

A relentless wave of exceptionally hot weather has engulfed Thailand in recent weeks, prompting authorities to issue frequent warnings about the perilous conditions.

According to the health ministry’s latest report on Friday, the northeastern region of Thailand, known as the agricultural heartland, has witnessed the highest number of heatstroke-related deaths.

Scientists have long cautioned that the human-induced climate crisis would lead to more frequent, prolonged, and intense heatwaves. While the El Nino phenomenon is contributing to this year’s unusually warm weather, Asia is experiencing a faster rate of warming compared to the global average, as highlighted by the United Nations’ World Meteorological Organization.

Apichart Vachiraphan, deputy of Thailand’s Department of Disease Control, has urged individuals with underlying medical conditions to limit their outdoor activities amidst the ongoing heatwave.

This year, Thailand encountered a delayed onset of the monsoon season, resulting in prolonged periods of scorching temperatures. Although recent storms have brought temporary relief by lowering temperatures, authorities remain vigilant against the threat of potential flash flooding.

In April, Thailand recorded a staggering temperature of 44.2 degrees Celsius (111.6 degrees Fahrenheit) in the northern province of Lampang, coming close to the national record of 44.6°C set last year.

The increasing frequency and intensity of heatwaves highlight the urgent need for comprehensive measures to mitigate the impacts of climate change and protect vulnerable populations. Government agencies, healthcare providers, and communities must work together to implement heatwave preparedness strategies, including public awareness campaigns, provision of cooling centers, and ensuring access to medical care for those affected by heat-related illnesses.

Additionally, efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and transition to renewable energy sources are crucial in addressing the root causes of climate change and preventing further escalation of extreme weather events.

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