People should be aware of heat and UV risks

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  • March, April and May are the hottest months in Myanmar. During this time, the country experiences a high ultraviolet (UV) index and unfavourable weather conditions for a period of three months until the rainy season, which begins in mid-June.
    UV indexes between 10 and 11 can be harmful and pose several health risks. A UV Index reading between 8 to 10 means very high risk of harm from unprotected sun exposure. Take extra precautions because unprotected skin and eyes will be damaged and can burn quickly. Experts suggest liberal use of sunscreen, sunglasses and protective clothing
    People should also avoid direct sunlight between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., by seeking shade and wearing headwear and long-sleeved clothes at all times.
    While a UV index reading between 0-2 poses little danger from the sun’s UV rays, an index between 6-7 poses considerate health risks, with severe damage to the eyes and skin if unprotected. Any measurements above 11 mean extreme risk of harm from unprotected sun exposure, with skin and eyes burning within minutes.
    People are urged to follow instructions of the Health Department to protect themselves against UV rays.
    Another potentially harmful weather condition is the formation of cumulus clouds in the summer season. Lightning, thunder, isolated heavy rainfall, gale force wind, lightning strikes and hailstones can occur due to cumulus clouds.
    Thunderstorms mostly happen in April and May in Myanmar.
    Since 1980, the country has seen an increase in the number of thunderstorms, which have killed over 100 people in some years, weather experts said.
    Some like it hot, but heat in the summer months can be fatal. In 2016, the world experienced its hottest year since the 1880s when modern records began to be kept, marking the third consecutive year of record-high temperatures. Less than four months into 2017, parts of Myanmar, India and Australia were already in the throes of heat waves.
    Researchers have established a direct link between global warming and heat-related deaths from killer heatwaves.
    People should pay attention to the daily weather forecasts of the Meteorology and Hydrology Department and should be alerted to adverse weather conditions.
    Over the past 25 years there have been 24 costly disasters in Myanmar, once every year on average. Victims numbering about 4 million suffered losses of approximately US$4.7 billion.
    According to the 2016 index for potential losses due to natural disasters, Myanmar is ranked number 8 out of 191 countries with a 6.8 score. As per the study of past events, natural disasters in the past two decades claimed heavy casualties totaling over 600,000, in which earthquakes stood first, followed by storms, heatstroke and drought.
    The devastating natural disasters that have occurred in recent years have alerted the people and authorities to cooperate in reducing the risks of natural disasters for the sake of the safety of the people.
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