Heatwave in Bangladesh kills 35 people

Dhaka - At least 35 people were killed by heatstroke in the week to Friday across Bangladesh as a heatwave swept the country, pushing temperatures to a record 43°C, health officials said.

Another 250 people were treated in hospital for heat-related problems, the officials said.

The national weather office said the mercury went soaring in the worst hit northern Rajshahi region, which recorded the highest ever temperature of 43°C on Friday.

Day temperatures were predicted to rise further at the weekend in the central and south-western districts from the present recorded level of about 40°C.

The number of heatstroke casualties was highest among farmers, construction workers, sidewalk vendors and others exposed to the blazing sun for long hours, hospital sources said.

"We are admitting about 40 people with diarrhoea and other intestinal diseases every day," said a spokesperson of the Cholera Hospital in the capital Dhaka.

A large number of the patients are young children and the elderly, he said.

An acute scarcity of safe water during the summer was forcing many shantytown dwellers to drink untreated water, aid worker Parul Akhtar said in Dhaka.

Frequent dust storms aggravated the situation in the south-western Khulna region where more than ten thousand people have died of heatstroke since Tuesday.

Weather experts believed the arrival of the monsoon rains, expected by June 10, would ease the current summer heat.

The normal lives of people and businesses in Dhaka were also partially crippled by the heatwave which had forced many to stay indoors, media reports have said. - Sapa-dpa

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