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Hottest April on Record: Bangladesh Sweats Through Unprecedented Heatwave

April saw record-breaking temperatures, marking it as the hottest on record according to reports from the Bangladesh weather bureau. A relentless heatwave has gripped the nation and neighboring regions, with dire consequences.

Scientific studies leave no doubt about the connection between climate change and the lengthening, increasing frequency, and intensification of heatwaves. The scorching temperatures prompted the Bangladesh government to close schools nationwide, affecting around 32 million students.

Muhammad Abul Kalam Mallik, a senior forecaster at the Bangladesh Meteorological Department, expressed surprise at the unprecedented heatwave, which covered approximately 80 percent of the country. April witnessed the highest temperatures recorded since 1948, both in terms of temperature highs and the geographical area affected.

Temperatures recorded at various weather stations surpassed the average for April between 1981 and 2010 by two to eight degrees Celsius. The toll of the heatwave included at least 11 heat stroke-related deaths in the past ten days, as confirmed by the health department.

Relief from the sweltering conditions is expected with the onset of rains from Thursday, following a week of blistering heat, during which Dhaka experienced temperatures exceeding 40 degrees Celsius. Mallik attributed the severity of the heat to the absence of typical pre-monsoon thunderstorms in April, which usually offer some relief.

The Bureau is investigating whether this April saw record-low rainfall, as schools remain closed until Sunday due to the heatwave. Thousands gathered in mosques and open spaces, praying for rain and lamenting the unbearable conditions exacerbated by the prolonged dry spell.

The heatwave extends across South and Southeast Asia, setting temperature records from Myanmar to the Philippines, with the El Nino phenomenon worsening this year’s unusually warm weather. Weather agencies in Cambodia, Myanmar, Vietnam, and India are all forecasting temperatures exceeding 40 degrees Celsius.

While the months leading up to the monsoon season typically bring heat, this year’s temperatures are notably higher than average across many countries. Asia’s warming trend surpasses the global average, as reported by the World Meteorological Organization, underscoring the urgent need for climate action.

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