‘Inside an oven’: sweltering heat ravages crops and takes lives in south-east Asia

Extreme heat has gripped much of south and south-east Asia over recent weeks, killing dozens of people, forcing millions of students to miss school and destroying crops.

In Thailand, at least 30 people have died from heatstroke since the start of the year. The extreme weather has seen durian fruit burst on trees, destroyed rice crops and caused eggs to shrink.

Both the Philippines and Bangladesh shut schools. Bangladesh experienced its hottest April ever recorded.

In Myanmar, 48.2˚C was reached in the town of Chauk, in central Magway region – the hottest April temperature since records began.

In Vietnam, 102 weather stations reported record highs in April. Seven stations recorded temperatures above 43˚C.

Kolkata, in India, also reached 43˚C, the city’s hottest April day since 1954.

The heat has been cited as a factor that led to an ammunition blast in Cambodia that killed 20 soldiers at an army base last weekend.