As scorching weather recently gripped the city of Yangon, two taxi drivers succumbed to heat exposure. This year, the central part of the country has especially been hit with record high temperatures, some rising to an oppressive 45 degrees Celsius, a full 6 degrees above the average maximum for the time of year.
The population is responding by curtailing activities and remaining indoors whenever possible. Officials are also disseminating survival tips and have halted the export of rice to ensure food supplies in case the lack of rain leads to crop failure.
In rural areas, extreme temperatures are causing water shortages as wells dry up, with a higher incidence of diseases such as flu and skin allergies being noted. In one township alone, around 100,000 fish were estimated to perish in a single day from the heat and lack of rainfall.
We are deeply saddened at the loss of life and suffering caused by the extreme heat. Our prayers for the soon blessing of cool rain for the gentle Burmese people and that humanity unites in sustainable lifestyles to halt climate change and restore balance to the planet.
Speaking with concern as she has previously about our urgent situation, Supreme Master Ching Hai addressed global warming during an October 2009 videoconference in Indonesia, describing the simple but meaningful action needed to counteract its dangers.