A TOTAL of 21 people have died so far as a result of the sweltering heat brought on by the El Niño phenomenon in Thailand.
These were the alarming figures for this year as announced by officials on Wednesday.
Director of the Department of Communicable Disease Control Dr Amnuay Kajina said the current heatwave was persisting in many areas throughout the country.
“People must take extra caution against illnesses caused by the sweltering heat,” he was quoted saying in The Nation.
He said people could easily fall ill and die of heatstroke if their bodies can’t release heat continuously, and added that the mercury in some areas might rise above 40 degrees Celsius.
Headaches, blackouts, convulsions, shortness of breath, an irregular heartbeat and shock were among typical symptoms of heatstroke.
“Without immediate treatment, heat stroke can lead to death,” Amnuay said.
Last year, 56 people had succumbed to the heatwave, the bulk of which were laborers and those involved in outdoor activities.
According to the paper, the department reported that from March 1 to April 33 this year, the heatwave claimed 21 lives, comprising 20 men and one woman.
The average age of people killed was 51, while victims ranged from 29 to 72, the report mentioned. Thirteen of the victims had died outside their homes, two in vehicles, one in a temple, and five in houses.
Although Thailand is typically hot and sweaty in April, this year’s scorching weather has set a record for the longest heatwave in at least 65 years.
Authorities have also urged the public to stay indoors to avoid the hot weather as the country was facing most persistent heatwave in over half a century.