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Asia's extreme April heat worsened by climate change, scientists say

SINGAPORE — Extreme temperatures throughout Asia last month were made worse — and more likely — as a result of human-driven climate change, a team of international scientists said on Wednesday (May 15).

Billions of people across the continent were affected by record-breaking temperatures during April, with schools forced to shut down, crops damaged and hundreds of people killed by heat-related illnesses, climate experts from the World Weather Attribution group said in a report.

Myanmar, Laos and Vietnam experienced their hottest April days on record, while temperatures in India reached as high as 46 degrees Celsius, they said.

"From Gaza to Delhi to Manila, people suffered and died when April temperatures soared in Asia," said Friederike Otto, Senior Lecturer in Climate Science at the Grantham Institute of Climate Change and the Environment, one of the report's authors.

"Heatwaves have always happened. But the additional heat, driven by emissions from oil, gas and coal, is resulting in death for many people."

In the Philippines, one of the worst-hit countries, authorities issued health warnings, shut down schools and rationed electricity supplies as soaring temperatures threatened the country's power grid.

The 15-day heatwave, which started in the middle of the month, would have been "virtually impossible, even under El Nino conditions" without the impact of man-made global warming, the report said.

Parts of the Middle East saw record-breaking temperatures over April 24-26, with Tel Aviv hitting 40.7C. Extreme temperatures in western Asia were made five times more likely by climate change, the report estimated.

"The heat that we saw is really compounding an already dire crisis at the moment in Gaza," Carolina Pereira