Sunday, April 14, 2024

Hit hard by summer heat

Frequent power cuts make Dhaka life all the more difficult
The scorching heat, high humidity, frequent power cuts and perennial water crisis have made life miserable in the capital in the last few days.
The situation is also contributing to the spike in diarrhoea cases. More than 500 people are getting admitted to the International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh (ICDDR, B) every day, a doctor of the centre said.
Shahnaz Begum, a dweller of Karail slum in the capital and a domestic help in Gulshan, said for the last several days she had to have a bottle of chilled water every day from her employer’s house just to cope with the humidity and heat.
Saiful Islam, a resident of Badda, said the humidity made travel by public transport a wearisome undertaking.
The situation is made worse with frequent power cuts. Too often the lights go out and the fans stop spinning. There was around 500 to 1,000 megawatts of load shedding on average in the country, according to Power Development Board records, and a third of the load shedding was carried out in the capital. However, high ranking officials of the department put the load shedding figure around 1,500 megawatts.
Physician Md Wahidur Rahman said high humidity and heat makes going outdoors difficult for some. He said during high humidity sweat does not evaporate as quickly resulting in considerable amount of discomfort. He suggested staying hydrated.
Md Sadequl Alam, forecasting officer of meteorological department, said Dhaka dwellers experienced 35 degrees Celsius on Friday. The temperature was a little higher for an average day in May but southerly wind carrying moisture from the Bay and pushing humidity to 72 percent made things worse, he said.
The mercury hit 36 degrees on May 8 with 56 percent humidity. The humidity will increase up to 80 percent during the ensuing rainy season.
Yesterday, the humidity in Dhaka was 74 percent in the morning and the temperature was nearly 35 degrees Celsius. The highest temperature in the country was recorded in Rajshahi, 37.5 degrees, according to met office records.
Rajshahi region suffered two moderate heat waves last week.
Even though the capital city did not experience any heat waves this month, its dwellers had to suffer much due to high humidity in the last couple of days, said Sadequl Alam.
KM Ziaur Rahman, a doctor at the Holy Family Hospital, said the number of diarrhoea patients increased in his hospital this month compared to those of March and April.
Taqsem A Khan, managing director of Dhaka Wasa, said frequent power cuts affect water supply. Even pumps with dual electricity connections suffer from load shedding, he said.
As all the machines at water-lifting pumps are electro-mechanical in nature, frequent power cuts often cause malfunctioning and contribute to water supply shortfall.
He, however, claimed that the water crisis was just in “pockets” of the capital and that the shortfall was negligible.
Presently, Wasa lifts ground water with 615 pumps in the capital.
A high number of houses in the capital use electric water pumps to pump water to their tanks on the roof and frequent power cuts disrupt their operations resulting in water crisis.

-With The Daily Star input
http://www.thedailystar.net/newDesign/news-details.php?nid=233957
, Dhaka, Bangladesh

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