Heatwave kills 230 in Mandalay

A near unprecedented heatwave in Burma that has pushed temperatures as high as 47C over the past fortnight continues to claim lives across the country.

Health authorities in Burma’s second city of Mandalay told 7-Day News journal on Wednesday that more than 230 people had so far died of heat-related illnesses. It added that the majority were drinkers, and shops in the city have been banned from selling alcohol.

Staff at the Brhma Soh funeral service in Magwe division’s town of Min Bu told DVB that more than 13 people died from the heat on 17 May alone, although “the death rate was low over the next days, around three or four [deaths]”.

A local in Magwe town said that the situation was similar there, with many elderly people falling victim to the heatwave.

“People couldn’t take the heat – about 12 people died in one day recently from heat stroke. Now the authorities are warning people not to bathe between 10am and 5pm,” he said.

A doctor in the town of Yesagyo, also in Magwe division, said that around eight people died on 13 May, although rates have since declined, while in Magwe’s Chauk town, a resident quoted local government authorities who said that around 30 people had so far died.

Burma’s health ministry has issued warnings to people to follow preventative measures, such as avoiding taking showers straight away after coming in from the heat and avoiding alcohol.

China-based Xinhua news agency said that temperatures in central Burma from late April to mid-May were at a 40-year high, while in Rangoon and Bago division, current temperatures are five to eight degrees Celsius above average.

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