Severe Heatwave In Khulna: Day Labourers Forced To Work In Dangerous Conditions

Desk Report

Published: 27 Apr 2024, 12:03 pm

Photo: UNB

Photo: UNB

A severe heatwave has been impacting Khulna for several days, causing significant hardship, particularly for day labourers who must continue to work in extreme temperatures to support their families.

The Bangladesh Meteorological Department (BMD) issued a 72-hour heat alert starting Thursday, as temperatures soared. On Thursday, the Met Office recorded a temperature of 42.2 degrees Celsius in Chuadanga and Jashore districts, with Chuadanga hitting a record 42.7 degrees Celsius on Friday.

According to the BMD, this intense heatwave is expected to persist for a few more days. In Khulna, the extreme heat has confined many to their homes. However, those who rely on daily wages, such as construction workers and rickshaw pullers, have no choice but to face the brutal temperatures to earn a living.

Nazrul Islam Hawladar, a 55-year-old road construction worker in the Mujgunni area of Khulna city, expressed the dire necessity of working despite the risk. "I am the sole provider for my nine-member family. Staying at home means not feeding my family," he stated.

Similarly, Abdul Quader, a 55-year-old day labourer who lives in a slum with his family, shared his struggle, "After working for a while, I get exhausted, but I still have to work to manage food for my family."

Bilkis Begum, another day labourer, succinctly captured the sentiment of many, saying, "What will I eat if I don't work? So I am forced to work in this heat."

The elderly also suffer disproportionately. Abdul Quader, a 65-year-old rickshaw puller, remarked on the unprecedented nature of the heat. "I have never felt so hot in my life. I can't stay in the sun for a long time," he said, noting his earnings have plummeted to between Tk 200-300 per day due to the heat.

Mezbah, a construction worker, echoed these hardships, "Working amid sweltering heat is not easy, but there is no alternative. If I do not work, what would I eat?"

According to the BMD on Friday, a very severe heatwave is sweeping over the districts of Rajshahi, Chuadanga and Pabna and a severe heatwave is sweeping over the districts of Tangail, Bogura, Bagerhat, Jashore and Kushtia.

Mild to moderate heatwave is sweeping over parts of Dhaka, Rajshahi and Khulna divisions and the divisions of Rangpur, Mymensingh and Barishal and the districts of Moulvibazar, Rangamati, Chandpur, Noakhali, Feni and Bandarban and it may continue, the BMD said._UNB

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