Bangladesh records lowest temperature in 6 decades

2013-01-09 09:37:39 GMT2013-01-09 17:37:39(Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

By Naim-Ul-Karim

DHAKA, Jan. 9 (Xinhua) -- Bone chilling cold slows the wheels of life in Bangladesh's capital Dhaka and elsewhere in the country where mercury plunged to 3.2 Celsius degrees Wednesday -- the lowest temperature in last 57 years.

Bangladesh Meteorological Department says the previous lowest minimum temperature recorded 3.9 degrees Celsius in 1955, when the country was a part of Pakistan. Shah Alam, a senior meteorologist, told Xinhua, "Murcury plunged to its lowest 3.2 degrees Celsius in the northern Dinajpur district (some 338 km northwest of capital Dhaka)."

"Temperature drops abnormally," said Alam. The department recorded Dhaka's temperatures at 7.2 degrees Celsius Wednesday which is also lowest since 1964 when it was 5.6 degrees Celsius in the capital city of the about 15 million people.

Sky over the capital Dhaka and most parts of the country remained cloudy for the last couple of days while cars and buses are running by switching on headlights in day time on many Dhaka streets.

The severe cold wave sweeping through tropical Bangladesh also brought the normal life and businesses to almost standstill particularly in the country's northern region facing the Himalayan mountains. Sunlight is reportedly completely absent in northern districts due to dense fog.

In Dhaka and elsewhere in the impoverished country, hundreds of floating people mainly street children and elderly people have been facing hard time due to the cold spell. The freezing weather may continue for two to three days, Alam said.

Coldest temperatures in 57 years in Bangladesh have also been blamed on more intense cold fronts resulting from global warming that has reportedly melted polar ice.

"Extreme events are on the rise throughout the world and they will continue to increase further due to global warming,"said Aninun Nishat, an environment specialist.

"We're part of the world. So, we're also feeling here the pinch of the global worming," he said, adding many countries including India and China in this part of the world are also experiencing unusual chills this winter.

He said extreme global warming impacts including water stress, shrinking glaciers, rising sea level, regional disturbances in rainfall patterns, and increased frequency and intensity of fires and heat waves, have also been underway in Australia, New Zealand and many other countries.

"Extreme weather could get worse and more frequent as global warming amplifies the risk factors," Nishat, vice chancellor of Bangladesh's leading BRAC University, told Xinhua.

He said Bangladesh needs more technical and financial support from the developed world to combat the global warming induced calamities.

Experts say Bangladesh, situated by the Bay of Bengal, has become more vulnerable in recent years to natural disasters as its capacity to protect its people and land is very feeble.

Tornado and cyclones, killing hundreds of people every year, are common in this calamity-prone South Asian country of about 153 million people whose per capita income is still less than 850 U.S. dollars.

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