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Sunday, April 21, 2024

Heat scorches Metro

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11 provinces suffer higher temperatures

Hundreds of schools across the country, including dozens in Metro Manila, suspended in-person classes on Tuesday due to dangerous levels of heat, with the Department of Health warning against heat-related illnesses such as heat cramps and heat stroke.

The municipality of Guiuan in Eastern Samar logged the highest heat index yesterday at 46 degrees Celsius, well within the “danger level” of 42 to 51°C.

The country’s heat index measures what a temperature feels like, taking into account humidity.

The index was expected to reach the “danger” level of 43°C in Metro Manila on Wednesday, with similar levels in a dozen other areas of the country, the state weather forecaster said.

Local officials across the main island of Luzon, the central islands, and the southern island of Mindanao suspended in-person classes or shortened school hours to avoid the hottest part of the day, the Department of Education said.

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Primary and secondary schools in Quezon City were ordered to shut while schools in other areas were given the option by local officials to shift to remote learning.

The Division of City Schools of Manila also allowed public school teachers and students to wear comfortable clothes amid the sweltering heat.

Mayor Along Malapitan said public schools in Caloocan City will impose blended learning for afternoon classes in all levels due to extreme heat.

DepEd-Calabarzon also advised school administrators that they may shift to distance learning “to avoid putting the learners’ and teachers’ health at risk” in the provinces of Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon.

The DOH warned temperatures ranging from 33 to 51°C may cause heat-related illnesses.

“Such temperatures can lead to heat cramps and heat exhaustion, characterized by symptoms such as fatigue, dizziness, headache, vomiting, and light-headedness,” the department said.

“Prolonged heat exposure increases the probability of heat stroke, a serious condition characterized by loss of consciousness, confusion, or seizures, which can be deadly if left untreated,” it added.

March, April and May are typically the driest months in the Philippines, but this year conditions have been exacerbated by the El Niño weather phenomenon.

Meanwhile, the Department of Energy said the power sector is implementing measures to avoid power interruptions as it ruled out the possibility of rotation brownouts at present.

“We want our electricity supply to have no interruption. Right now, we don’t see any possible rotational brownout,” DOE Assistant Secretary Mario Marasigan said.

He said the department already advised stakeholders to prepare in case a yellow alert is raised over the Luzon grid, which indicates thin reserves.

“We have given notices to our stakeholders in the power industry to prepare for the possible yellow alert status in the Luzon grid. We are already alerting our participants of the interruptible load program—those who will use their own generators—while other consumers will use the electricity on our line,” he added.

For her part, Senator Grace Poe on Tuesday called on water concessionaires to implement supply contingency and augmentation plans during the summer months, and coordinate with relevant agencies to ensure continuous water supply.

“The heat is on, water is in high demand, and without it, our health is at risk. Water providers must ensure an uninterrupted, 24/7 supply,” Poe said in a statement.

She said water firms should also coordinate closely with the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System and the National Water Resources Board to ensure that customers will experience continuous water supply, even during peak demand periods. With AFP

Editor’s Note: This is an updated article. Originally posted with the headline Hundreds of Philippine schools suspend classes over heat danger

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