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Scorching heat across Asia made more likely by human-caused climate change, says report

SCORCHING heat across Asia and the Middle East in late April was made 45 times more likely in some parts of the continent because of human-caused climate change, a study said on Tuesday.

Sizzling temperatures were felt across swathes of Asia, from Gaza in the west — where over 2 million people face clean water shortages, lack of health care and other essentials amid the Israeli bombardment — to the Philippines in the south-east.

The study by the World Weather Attribution group of scientists said many parts of the continent experienced temperatures well above 40°C for several days in a row.

In the Philippines, scientists found the heat was so extreme it would have been impossible without human-caused climate change. 

In parts of the Middle East, climate change increased the probability of the event by about a factor of five.

“People suffered and died when April temperatures soared in Asia,” said Friederike Otto, study author and climate scientist at Imperial College in London. 

He said: “If humans continue to burn fossil fuels, the climate will continue to warm and vulnerable people will continue to die.”

At least 28 heat-related deaths were reported in Bangladesh, as well as five in India and three in Gaza in April. Surges in heat deaths have also been reported in Thailand and the Philippines this year according to the study.

Internally displaced people, migrants and those in refugee camps were especially vulnerable to the searing temperatures, the study found.

Aditya Valiathan Pillai, a heat plans expert at New Delhi-based think tank Sustainable Futures Collaborative, who was not part of the study, said: “These findings in scientific terms are alarming. 

“But for people on the ground living in precarious conditions, it could be absolutely deadly.”

He said: “I think heat is now amongst the foremost risks in terms of personal health for millions across the world.”


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