Students use a piece of cardboard to protect themselves from the sun

Students use a piece of cardboard to protect themselves from the sun during a hot day in Manila on April 2, 2024.

(Photo: Jam Sta Rosa/AFP via Getty Images)

Extreme Heat Forces Hundreds of Schools Across Philippines to Close

The Philippine weather service said the risk of heatstroke was elevated as temperature reached nearly 110°F in some parts of the country.

Schools across the Philippines on Tuesday were forced to close as the country recorded continuing extreme heat that residents have faced since at least Saturday.

Bloomberg reported that more than a thousand primary and secondary schools shut down, including dozens in the capital city of Manila, as health authorities raised alarm about potential heatstroke and heat exhaustion for students and teachers.

The Philippine heat index takes into account not only the actual temperature, but also humidity, which can make hot weather feel even more sweltering.

Dozens of schools across the capital city of Manila were affected by authorities' decision to close schools until the extreme heat subsides.

Officials in the southern island of Mindanao told Agence France-Presse that in-person classes were being suspended or shortened over the next two weeks.

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) raised alarm about the danger of heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heatstroke as the heat index reached 42°C (107.6°F) on Tuesday and was expected to surge to 43°C (109.4°F).

Heatstroke can cause sufferers to lose consciousness and experience confusion and in some cases convulsions, and can be deadly.

"At the Pagadian City Pilot School one kindergarten student and two in the elementary school suffered nosebleeds," Dahlia Paragas, regional education ministry official for Zamboanga province in Mindanao, toldAFP. "All of them are back at home in stable condition and were advised to avoid exposure to the sunlight."

High humidity is unusual for April, which along with March and May are typically the driest months in much of the Philippines.

AFP reported that conditions in the country have been exacerbated by El Niño, which is occurring this year and along with the underlying trend of fossil fuel-driven planetary heating has resulted in hotter ocean and atmospheric temperatures.

As Common Dreamsreported last May, a World Meteorological Organization report found that more than 90% of people killed by extreme weather events including extreme heat, droughts, and wildfires have lived in the Global South.

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