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Current heatwave claims 21 lives in Thailand

The current heatwave in Thailand, with temperatures rising above 40 degrees Celsius in certain parts of country, has claimed 21 lives so far during March until April.

According to the director of the Department of Communicable Disease Control, Dr Amnuay Kajina, 20 of the victims were men while one was a woman.

Last year, he said that 56 people fell victim to the heat wave, most of them men who worked as labourers.

“The mercury in some areas (in Thailand) may rise above 40 degrees Celsius and if people’s bodies cannot release heat continuously, they could fall ill and die from heatstroke,” he was quoted as saying by the local media today.

He said that the symptoms of heatstroke included headaches, blackouts, convulsions, shortness of breath, irregular heartbeat and shock and if not treated immediately could be fatal.

Among those who are at risk of heatstroke are people who work outdoors and do activities under the sweltering sun, children under five, people with high blood pressure and those who are obese.

He advised people to wear light-coloured clothes, stay indoors, drink more water and refrain from any outdoor activities, which could expose them to the risk of heatstrokes.

Meanwhile, the Thai Meteorological Department said that the temperature in Mae Hong Son, situated in the northern part of the country, notched 41 degrees Celsius yesterday, the highest in Thailand, while on the same day in Bangkok, it was 37 degrees Celsius.

The heatwave engulfing Thailand has also pushed electricity consumption to an all-time high as more people use air-conditioning systems to cool off from the heat and staying indoors, said the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT).

The eletricity consumption peaked for the sixth time this year reaching 29,403 Megawatts, with average temperature across Thailand at 37.8 degrees Celsius, the authority said.

- Bernama

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