The maximum temperature soared to nearly 41 degrees Celsius (105.8 Fahrenheit) from 32 degrees Celsius 10 days ago. The Bangladesh Meteorological Department warns that the heat will not end.
Scientists have said climate change contributing to more frequent, severe, and longer-lasting heatwaves during the summer months.
Bangladesh could face another two weeks of power outages, said Nasrul Hamid, minister of state for power, energy and mineral resources, as fuel shortages prompted the shutdown of several power generation units, including its largest coal-fired power plant.
“Because world energy crisis and the unprecedented surge in the international currency market, we are faced with this unwanted burden shedding,” Hamid said in a Facebook post.
This heatwave comes as the country has been grappling with power outages that have taken a toll on its economy in recent months, including the crucial apparel sector which accounts for more than 80% of its exports.
“It’s been very hot these days, but the hours-long power outages have added to our misery,” said Mizanur Rahman, a shopkeeper in the capital Dhaka.
Residents seek medical treatment because of the heat.
“We get a lot of patients suffering from heatstroke or other heat-related problems,” said Shafiqul Islam, a doctor in the northwestern part of the country.
Authorities have encouraged residents to stay indoors and drink water, but the heatwave and power cuts have also resulted in water shortages in many places.
“The lack of water and the heat are choking us,” said Mohammad Sultan, 52, a rickshaw puller.
“Not a leaf moving anywhere. No shade. Pulling a rickshaw becomes difficult. It’s very difficult!,” he said.
“I lost more than 20 (only chickens today) due to excessive heat. The power went out for more than two hours each time. I couldn’t even sleep well. I felt so helpless,” said chicken seller Mohaamd Suman, 37. .
The power crunch could also disrupt the supply of summer clothing for retailers such as Walmart, Gap Inc, H&M, VF Corp, Zara and American Eagle Outfitters, some of Bangladesh’s biggest export customers.
The loss of exports will exacerbate problems around the country’s dollar reserves, which have plunged by nearly a third in the 12 months to April to a seven-year low, and limited its ability to pay for fuel imports.
“I am very sorry for your suffering. I also want to assure you that this situation is only temporary. We will return soon in good condition,” said Hamid, the state power official.