Pedestrians shield themselves from the sunlight under an umbrella during hot weather in Bangkok, Thailand, 23 April 2023. EFE/EPA/RUNGROJ YONGRIT

High temperatures pose threat to agriculture in Asia

Bangkok, Apr 25 (EFE).- Several Asian countries such as India, Thailand and the Philippines have been suffering the impact of high temperatures and face difficult months ahead for agriculture due to the El Nino phenomenon, even though the current heatwave is beginning to subside.

Although it rained in Bangkok and other parts of Thailand on Tuesday, temperatures have exceeded 42 degrees Celsius in some areas of the central and northern part of the country, which in April is experiencing its driest and warmest month before the arrival of the monsoon, according to the Thai Meteorological Department.

Thai authorities have posted on social media advice for people, mainly minors and the elderly, to take precautions against the risk of heat stroke.

Temperatures reached a maximum of 42 degrees Celsius on Tuesday in Myanmar, a country with a poor power infrastructure and where many homes and buildings do not have adequate air conditioning.

Mercury touched 45.4 degrees in Tak province in Thailand on Apr.15, with the region exceeding 45 degrees for the first time in its history.

Meanwhile, Laos too recorded a record temperature of 42.7 degrees in Luang Prabang last week.

Moreover, meteorologists have warned that this year the El Nino phenomenon will bring a few more arid months during the monsoon season in several parts of Asia, which, along with the effects of the climate crisis, can cause serious losses in agriculture.

In China, the southern province of Yunnan on Monday issued an orange alert for a drought after having recorded its lowest rainfall in about 10 years, which could lead to a rationing of energy in the local aluminum production sector.

Countries such as Thailand, Myanmar, Laos and Malaysia have also been suffering from high air pollution, largely due to burning of crop stubble in agricultural lands, increasing pollution to unhealthy levels.

India recorded one of its hottest April months since 1901, according to the Indian Meteorological Department, with a severe heat wave in several of its regions as temperatures soared above 40 degrees, leaving 13 people dead in a mass event held by the government near Mumbai.

Although temperatures have subsided in recent days, authorities have warned that the mercury could reach more than 40 degrees in the western region of Gujarat in the next three to four days.

In neighboring Maharashtra, preparations against the heat have already begun, even taking animals into consideration, especially in the Byculla Zoo, where the keepers have stored pools of water and been distributing chunks of ice with fruits to its dwellers, among other measures.

In Nepal, which last year was hit by a heatwave that caused the highest temperatures in nearly six decades, there are concerns about the outbreak of fires in various parts of the country that have pushed Kathmandu to the top of the most polluted cities in the world, according to the IQAir portal. EFE