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Bangladesh to reopen schools despite sweltering heatwave

Bangladesh will reopen schools from next week despite a brutal heatwave sweeping the country that has seen temperatures soar to 43 degrees Celsius, officials have said.

The South Asian nation is sweltering through one of its worst heatwaves on record, with temperatures 4-5C above the long-term average.

The severe conditions had forced authorities to close schools this week.

The Education Ministry, however, will reopen schools despite the Meteorological Department warning that there was no end in sight for the heat.

“All kinds of preparations have been made to open educational institutions from next week. Students will be kept away from extracurricular activities. The daily assembly will remain closed until further orders,” an education ministry official said.

Extensive scientific research has found climate change is causing heat waves to become longer, more frequent and more intense.

The United Nations said this week Asia was the region most affected by climate and weather hazards in 2023, with floods and storms the chief causes of casualties and economic losses.

Millions of people across south and southeast Asia have again sweltered through unusually hot weather this week.

Bangladesh and its 171 million people are already at the forefront of the global climate crisis, regularly battered by powerful cyclones and floods of increasing frequency and severity.

Authorities have been encouraging residents to stay indoors and drink water.

Those who work outdoors, like labourers and rickshaw drivers, say the brutal heat has become extremely challenging.

“It is becoming very hard to pull a rickshaw. But we can’t stay home. What will we eat then?” Mohammad Zamir, a rickshaw puller said.

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