A record heat wave in Thailand, with what felt like temperatures sometimes exceeding 52 degrees, has so far cost 61 people their lives. According to the Ministry of Health, there are already more than twice as many deaths from heat stroke than in 2023 as a whole. According to the information, most of the victims were in the north-east of the kingdom, where there is a particularly large amount of agriculture.

Thailand had recently suffered from extreme heat for weeks. In the capital Bangkok and many other parts of the country, the temperatures barely fell below 30 degrees, even at night. The heat index, i.e. the perceived temperature with a view to humidity and other factors, was regularly over 50 degrees, especially at lunchtime. The authorities in Bangkok had repeatedly urged the population to stay indoors if possible.

Asia is warming particularly quickly

After it rained in many parts of the country at the beginning of the week for the first time in months, the temperatures had dropped slightly – but on Friday they were well over 30 degrees again in many places. The Thai people are used to high temperatures, but it has almost never been as intense as this year – and over such a long period of time.

According to experts, one of the reasons for this is the dreaded climate phenomenon El Niño. But Asia is also warming faster than the global average, according to an April report from the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). Extreme heat has recently also prevailed in Bangladesh and Vietnam. Myanmar and the Philippines. “Despite the growing health risks from extreme heat, heat-related deaths often go unreported,” the UN agency warned.