Deadly heatwave claims over 50 lives in central Myanmar

The scorching heatwave in Myanmar’s Mandalay, exacerbated by the ongoing conflict, resulted in over 50 deaths from heatstroke in April.

According to an official from the Mani Sala Rescue Organization, the city of Mandalay in central Myanmar suffered over 50 deaths related to heatstroke during the extremely hot month of April.

The military coup in 2021 has ignited a conflict that has driven over 123,000 people from their homes in Kayah, Myanmar, according to the United Nations. Now, these displaced individuals residing in camps face compounded challenges due to a severe heat wave that has pushed temperatures to 48 degrees Celsius making life even harder for those living in camps. The heatwave adds more difficulties on top of the uncertainties these displaced people already face.

Myanmar experienced a dramatic spike in heatstroke cases during the intense heat wave that gripped the country in April this year. While only eight heat-related hospitalizations were recorded in March, that number surged to over 50 by April.

Roughly a dozen camp residents line up at the water truck, awaiting their rationed supply that must sustain them for three to four days. Children bear the burden of transporting the water containers back home, either carrying baskets on their backs or pulling trolleys along the dirt road.
On April 28th, Mandalay endured its hottest April day in 77 years, with temperatures soaring to a scorching 44.8 degrees Celsius, according to data from Myanmar’s Department of Meteorology and Hydrology.

In this Southeast Asian nation, April and May are typically the hottest months of the year, with temperatures peaking just before the arrival of the monsoon season.