Yes, it’s hot in Yangon. No, that’s not changing anytime soon. In fact, it’s only going to get worse in the coming weeks, according to the Department of Meteorology and Hydrology.
Yangon, the Bago and Irrawaddy River delta regions, and Kayah and Mon States are all already suffering from average temperatures nearly two degrees higher than last April. With that being the case, the Meteorology Department is advising everyone to stay in the shade and to avoid showering in the daytime — believing that cold water shocks the system on a hot day (it’s a thing here).
The hotter-than-normal weather is arriving just as Myanmar gets ready for the weeklong Thingyan celebration, when the entire nation will be celebrating the arrival of the new year by meditating, paying homage to their elders, and — in what we can only hope provides a bit of blessed relief — throwing water at each other.
While there’s plenty of religious connotations to the new year, Thingyan is also a major, countrywide party, with festivities ranging from traditional Myanmar Thingyan songs to EDM (we see ya, city kids) to copious amounts of alcohol being consumed.
With the consumption of alcohol and other substances upping the risk factor for heat stroke, dehydration, and generally reckless behavior amid the heat, Yangon General Hospital is on “heightened alert” for the four-day festival, according to the Myanmar Times.
The hospital has reportedly more than doubled their staff, up from the usual 80 personnel, to handle the larger influx of emergency patients, often coming in for heat-related problems.
Last year, Yangon General’s emergency department treated 830 people during the Thingyan holiday, with 18 deaths, mostly due to traffic accidents, fights, illness or workplace accidents.
So, while we wish all of you a very Happy Thingyan, please remember to keep cool, stay hydrated, and party safe over the next few days.