Aug 29, 2016

Heatwave continues to bake parts of the Middle East

Baghdad
Basrah
Iraq
by
Al Jazeera
The extreme heat also encompasses parts of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Iran. Photo: Adebin Taherkenareh / EPA
The extreme heat also encompasses parts of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Iran. Photo: Adebin Taherkenareh / EPA

The heatwave in Iraq is showing no signs of ending as suffering continues for the residents.

The extreme temperatures have also reached parts of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Iran but its greatest impact is being felt in Iraq.

The ongoing turmoil in the country has left tens of thousands of people displaced. Many are living in temporary accommodation where lack of air conditioning and intermittent electricity supplies means having to endure temperatures well in excess of what is normal in the the late summers.

There has been a marked increase in the number of people admitted into hospitals suffering from heat exhaustion and dehydration.

Farmers have reported that crops are also suffering due to the high temperatures and lack of water for irrigation purpose.

Economists estimate that the country's GDP has shrunk by 20 to 30 percent during this period.

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Temperatures have been enough above the long-term average to warrant it being described as a heatwave.

This is the second phase of the heatwave that began in July. Then, temperatures across Iraq were well in excess of 50C, prompting the closure of many government buildings.

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On July 21, a yet-to-be-verified temperature of 54C was recorded in Miribah, Kuwait.

If confirmed, this will be the highest temperature recorded in the Eastern Hemisphere.

While Miribah was grabbing the headlines, Basrah, close to the northern end of the Arabian Gulf, recorded a similar temperature on that day.

That was during July, the peak of the summer heat.

By mid to late August, temperatures inevitably dip as the sun continues its journey towards the celestial equator. Temperatures in Baghdad, for example, should be dropping back to around 42C.

Yet, at Baghdad International Airport, temperatures reached 48.6C on Saturday. Basrah International Airport was even hotter at 48.2C