People should prepare immediately for a heat-wave as potentially record-breaking temperatures look set to envelop many parts of Burma, according to Tun Lwin, the former head of the Department of Meteorology and Hydrology.
The ultraviolet (UV) index began spiking above 11 – an “extreme” level – at the beginning of April, but could reach a scorching 15.1 in eastern Burma’s Shan and Karenni states in the coming weeks and continue as such until the rains break, he said.
According to recent data, the UV index in Rangoon, Pegu and Tenasserim divisions is 14.1, while it was 14.2 in Irrawaddy Division, 14.6 in Karenni State, and 14.4 in southern and eastern Shan State.
The Ministry of Health has warned that unprotected exposure to UV rays can cause sunstroke and dehydration, while long-term effects include skin cancer, lowered immunity and cataracts.
Meanwhile, residents in Dala Township, which sits across the river from Rangoon port, are facing imminent water shortages due to rising summer temperatures and dried-up reservoirs.
Than Naing from Dala’s Yarza Thingyan quarter said that the Maha Thingyan freshwater lake – relied upon for drinking water by his and six other neighbourhoods – has dried up, forcing locals to buy water elsewhere.
Hla Myint, deputy-chairman of the trustees for the Maha Thingyan, said restrictions have been imposed on locals fetching water from the lake.
According to the World Meteorological Organisation, Rangoon residents can expect a maximum temperature of 39°C (102°F) on Friday and Saturday, while those in Mandalay in central Burma should get ready for a sizzling 42°C (108°F).