Tourist collapse sparks alarm as 72.6% of Thais fret over rising temperatures. Climate change looms large amid a scorching heatwave.

Thailand is currently in the midst of a heatwave. Not surprising, given it is traditionally the hottest time of year in the kingdom. On Thursday, a Swiss tourist passed out and had to be revived by police near the Grand Palace in the capital. The scene comes with Thai meteorologists and academics warning that the country is facing a future of higher temperatures. An official survey published over the weekend shows that 72.6% of the Thai public are now either moderately or severely concerned about the trend.

On Thursday, police at the Royal Palace Police Station near the Grand Palace, trainees and passersby helped revive a Swiss tourist who passed out from heat stroke. Later, the Swiss man was removed by ambulance to a local hospital.

On Thursday, in Bangkok, outside the Grand Palace, police were called upon to intervene when an elderly tourist passed out due to the heat.

Amidst the sweltering hot weather created by Bangkok’s unrelenting April sun, the poignant moment unfolded outside the Royal Palace Police Station. It offered a glimpse of humanity coping with the growing challenges posed by climate change.

The 72-year-old Swiss tourist was overcome by the scorching temperatures. He collapsed not once, but twice, in front of the precinct.

Senior police officer explains the duty of Thai police is to assist those in distress be they nationals or foreigners. Swiss man’s wife expresses thanks

Police Lieutenant Colonel Chamrat Dokmaithet, Deputy Superintendent (Investigation) at the Royal Palace Police Station, led the efforts to assist the ailing tourist. Officers opened the older man’s clothing and used fans to try to cool him down. They also offered him hydration.

Alongside passersby and trainee cadets, the officers provided vital first aid before swiftly coordinating with medical services to arrange for the tourist’s transfer to Thonburi Bamrung Muang Hospital. 

The prompt and eager response was praised by the Swiss man’s wife. She was moved to tears and even offered the policemen money. 

However, Police Lieutenant Colonel Chamrate emphasises that it was simply their duty.

The Royal Thai Police headquarters has given the order that all Thai police must have a good heart and help those in need. Certainly, this includes both Thais and foreigners in distress.

37 people died in Thailand last year from heat stroke. Public Health officials concerned about the trend. Many had chronic diseases, alcohol also a factor

However, the incident was not merely an isolated event.

Rather, it is a real-life reflection of broader environmental challenges facing Thailand and the world at large.

As temperatures soar to unprecedented heights, the risk of heat-related illnesses, including heatstroke, has become increasingly prevalent.

In Thailand, temperatures routinely exceed 40°C during these scorching summer months. Consequently, the impact of rising temperatures on public health cannot be understated.

Last year, Thailand recorded 37 deaths due to heatstroke.

In short, the Ministry of Public Health reported that most of them were outdoor workers, including farmers and external labourers.

Furthermore, approximately 10% of those who died had chronic diseases, with alcohol consumption as an additional, contributing factor.

Survey into the health impact of extreme heat completed by the Ministry of Public Health. Headaches, constipation and muscle cramps reported by the public

Dr Atchara Nithiapinyasakul, the Department of Health boss, recently issued an official warning to those at risk. 

In addition to the elderly, this includes anyone suffering from obesity or disability. Certainly, such people should avoid open spaces outdoors in this weather while in Thailand. At the same time, constant hydration is required.

Over the weekend, health department officials commented on a recent survey into hotter weather.

According to the poll, headaches, constipation, and muscle cramps are among the top three illnesses affecting the public. Certainly, rising public concern was also confirmed by the poll, conducted during March and April.

Moreover, worries about the adverse effects of heat are presently widespread in Thailand. Unquestionably so, given that nearly three-quarters of respondents confirmed moderate to high levels of concern.

Heat stroke a big fear for people as temperatures over 40°C are recorded in spots throughout Thailand at this time. Even at night, the heat is oppressive

The looming threat of heat stroke, with its potentially fatal consequences, has become part of Thailand’s summer landscape.

Dr Atchara, the health department’s top official, underlined the deadly nature of the health threat. He noted its debilitating symptoms, including skin redness, rapid pulse, and even unconsciousness leading to death.

As temperatures continue to rise, the risk of heatstroke flare-ups while its impact becomes ever more pronounced. At this time, he urged heightened awareness and for people to take preventive measures.

Bangkok and much of Thailand are currently sweltering in oppressive heat. 

Temperatures in the Thai capital normally range from 30°C to 35°C in April. In short, it is the hottest month of the year for the kingdom. 

Indeed, nighttime temperatures are also hot, rarely falling below 25°C. In short, it is oppressive and often leads to a lack of sleep even with air conditioning.

However, this year temperatures have been in the 35°C to 40°C range, with frequent reports of temperatures exceeding 40°C nationwide.

Survey shows that 72.6% of people are either moderately or severely concerned about the weather and climate change. One in five people are very worried

Over the weekend, health department officials warned of cases of heatstroke and other ailments associated with high temperatures.

It came with the results of the survey conducted by the government in March and the first week of April. It shows rising anxiety among the population.

At length, 72.6% of people interviewed now had either moderate or severe concerns about the heat in Thailand. Certainly, no less than 19.8% or one in five, were severely concerned about the trend.

The department, at this time, is urging people to hydrate and eat newly cooked fresh food as often as possible.

In addition, it noted that April 27th may prove to be an extremely hot day in Bangkok. The fear is that the sun will be shining at a peculiar angle on that day, making the heat even more oppressive.

The current hot spell afflicting the country is due to stay in place until the end of the month.

The meteorological outlook for Thailand thereafter offers some respite from the scorching heat.

Some Thai meteorologists say it’s already too late. Temperatures may soar by 5°C by 2100 and even with robust climate change policies, it will be at least 3°C 

According to the Meteorological Department, temperatures have regularly surpassed 40°C in many regions, including Bangkok, during March and April.

The Director-general of Thailand’s national weather agency, Kornravee Sitthichitvapak, in March, warned of excessive temperatures in March and April, the kingdom’s summer months. Climate experts attribute this to the El Nino phenomenon.

Mr Kornravee said that the highest temperature ever recorded in Thailand was 44.6°C in Tak province in 2016. The highest on record for Bangkok was 41°C.

Nevertheless, Mr Seree Supratid, Director-general of the Climate Change and Disaster Centre at Rangsit University, had more ominous news.

At length, he accepted temperatures were elevated in 2024. Mr Seree said that this year Thailand would see mercury levels on average 1-2°C above normal.

‘We must live with it’ says climate expert saying we cannot fix what has been done as Thailand heats up

However, an anonymous source with Thailand’s Meteorological Department was even more alarming.

Citing a changed El Nino and La Nina pattern, he warned that higher temperatures and more severe drought were now to be expected annually.

He agreed that El Nino and La Nina were factors. However, the meteorologist pointed out that traditional patterns were disrupted. Indeed, they may never return.

‘We can no longer say what is going to happen in its cycle. But we have already seen weird weather and unusual patterns of this phenomenon. We are going to experience higher temperatures next year as well as more severe drought and rainfall,’ the government official declared.

The official warned that it was already too late to reduce the impact of climate change.

He agreed that we can expect a 5°C rise in temperatures by 2100. At the same time, even with the most robust climate measures, it was not likely to be less than 3°C.

IPCC has called for ‘far-reaching’ measures to avoid higher temperatures in October report 

This pessimistic assessment was shared by Mr Seree.

‘We cannot avoid the result of climate change, nor can we fix what’s been done in the past. We must live with it,’ he concluded.

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