Malaysia: Heat wave emergency if temperature exceeds 40 degrees celcius for more than 7 days

FAIRUZ MOHD SHAHAR New Straits Times 18 Mar 16;

PUTRAJAYA : The government will announce a heat wave emergency if the temperature of an area in the country exceeds 40 degrees celsius for more than seven days.

Schools will also be ordered to shut down temporarily if the temperature exceeds 37 degrees celsius for more than three days.

Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said this was based on the action plan to deal with the heat wave, which took effect today.

"This action plan involves various ministries and agencies including the Education Ministry, Health Ministry, Science, Technology and Innovation Ministry, Communication and Multimedia Ministry and Meteorology Department, among others.

"Each ministry and agency has been given a task to do when an area reaches the heat wave threshold.

"If the temperature of an area exceeds 37 degrees Celsius for 72 hours, the Meteorology Department will monitor the temperature reading from time to time at the monitoring stations nationwide.

"The Science, Technology and Innovation Ministry will also issue heat wave warnings through media statements."

"The schools have been ordered to postpone all co-curriculum, outdoor and sports activities following the dry spell season." he said at a press conference, today.

He said the cabinet today also gave its approval to set up a special committee to tackle the El Nino phenomenon.

He also advised the public to minimise outdoor activities as the heat wave is expected to end only in May.


Action plan to be based on haze strategy
BEATRICE NITA JAY New Straits Times 18 Mar 16;

KUALA LUMPUR: New guidelines and the standard operating procedure for the heatwave action plan will be modelled after the National Haze Action Plan.

Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said the ministry was moving ahead with the action plan, with agencies, such as the Wildlife and National Parks Department and Marine Department, also involved.

He said the action plan would contain guidelines for government departments, agencies and schools regarding activities that could be affected by the hot weather.

“There will be a committee formed to tackle the heatwave issue, but I cannot disclose further information as it will be discussed in the cabinet tomorrow (today),” he said, adding that the action plan involved the same group of people who had created the National Haze Action Plan.

Wan Junaidi said seven agencies would be included in the action plan, among them being the Department of Environment, Fire Department and police.

Countries that have a National Heat Action Plan include Australia, the United States (for California), Britain and India. In these countries, school ends early if temperatures hit 38ºC.

The Perlis Health Department has issued an advisory to the public to limit outdoor activities and drink plenty of water and isotonic drinks to rehydrate as the temperature soared to 39ºC. Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Datuk Seri Wilfred Madius Tangau announced that six areas in the country had recorded temperatures that hit or exceeded the heatwave threshold.

They are Chuping in Perlis, Alor Star in Kedah, Ipoh and Lubuk Merbau in Perak, and Batu Embun and Temerloh in Pahang. On Monday, Chuping recorded a reading of 39ºC.

The heatwave indicator is triggered when the highest daily temperature in a certain area reaches 35ºC for five consecutive days.


14 cases of heat exhaustion and heat stroke recorded so far: Health Ministry
FAIRUZ MOHD SHAHAR New Straits Times 18 Mar 16;

PUTRAJAYA : The Health Ministry recorded 14 heat-related illnesses from March 1 until today due to the recent heat wave phenomenon. H

ealth Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam said the cases comprised 11 heat exhaustion and 3 heat stroke cases.

"This includes one death where a trainee policeman died of heat stroke on Wednesday after undergoing physical training at the Segamat Police Training Centre. "Today, two heat stroke cases were reported in Banting.

"All government agencies, especially uniformed bodies, are advised to reduce or cancel physical training sessions to ensure that trainees are not exposed to the heat, which can affect their health. "he said at a press conference, today.

He said he had presented the heat-related statistics to the cabinet.

He advised the public to keep hydrated and reduce outdoor activities.

40°C threshold for ‘heatwave emergency’
JOSEPH KAOS JR. The Star 18 Mar 16;

PUTRAJAYA: The Government will declare a “heatwave emergency” if the temperature in an area exceeds 40°C for seven days or more.

The move is tops in a list of measures in the new heatwave “action plan” that was approved by the Cabinet on Friday.

Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar, who made the announcement, also said that schools in areas where the temperature hits 37°C and above for more than three days will be ordered to close.

He also said the Cabinet had approved the setting up of a special committee on the heatwave, which he will chair.

“The committee will be tasked to monitor the heatwave situation and execute the action plan.

“A first warning will be issued if temperatures reach or exceed 37 degrees Celcius for 72 hours. When the first warning is issued, we will order the postponement of outdoor activities at schools and outdoor sports activities,” said Dr Wan Junaidi, at a press conference here Friday.

“If the temperature hits 37 degrees Celsius for more than 72 hours, that is when we issue the second warning. Schools in affected areas will be ordered to close.

“The National Disaster Management Agency will be convened for a special meeting to discuss an emergency response plan.

“If temperatures go beyond 40 degrees Celsius for seven days or more, then the agency will declare a ‘heatwave emergency’ and announce the emergency measures to be taken,” he said.


Refrain from outdoor activities, says Subra
JOSEPH KAOS JR The Star 19 Mar 16;

PUTRAJAYA: As Malaysia recorded the first death caused by the current heatwave, the Health Ministry has urged the public to refrain from outdoor activities.

Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam (pic) said there were 14 cases of heat-related illnesses reported nationwide since March 1, including the one in Segamat where a 23-year-old police cadet died of heatstroke during a training exercise.

“Agencies such as the police and the army are advised to reduce outdoor training sessions that expose their trainees to the heat.

“The Youth and Sports Ministry should also take the heatwave into consideration and issue directives to reduce or postpone outdoor physical activities for this period.

“This includes marathon races, where participants face risks of being exposed to the heat and being dehydrated,” he said at a press conference here yesterday.

Dr Subramaniam said that of the 14 cases, 11 were for heat exhaustion and the rest heatstroke, including the Segamat case.

“Heat exhaustion is an early stage of heat-related injury while heatstroke is the more serious stage.

“It is caused by exposure to high temperatures, combined with dehydration, which causes failure of organs, as in the case of the police cadet,” he said.

Police trainee Azizan Ayob died of heatstroke on Wednesday during orientation at the Segamat Police Training Centre.

He was one of 467 trainees who reported at the centre on March 13.


Trainee was medically and physically fit, say cops
The Star 19 Mar 16;

PETALING JAYA: Trainee constable Azizan Ayob was medically and physically fit to undergo police training as shown by his clean bill of health.

Bukit Aman deputy director of management (Training) DCP Datuk Mohd Fuad Abdul Latiff said medical authorities had determined that Azizan was physically and medically fit to join the programme.

He said only medically and physically fit applicants were offered a place in the rigorous six-month training programme.

“It is compulsory for applicants to undergo a thorough medical check-up at government hospitals to ensure that they are fit for the programme.

“The check-up comprises an assessment of eyesight, whether they are colour-blind, and examines their hearing as well as their heart condition,” he told The Star.

Azizan was admitted to the Segamat hospital after suffering fainting spells at the end of the orientation at the Segamat Police Training Centre (Pulapol) field on Tuesday. He died at 10.26pm the next day.

DCP Mohd Fuad said applicants also had to produce evidence before the Commissioner for Oaths to verify that they were physically and medically fit to join the police force, in addition to not being involved in any crime.

He said when he found out what had happened to Azizan, he contacted the commandant of the training centre.

“I told him to study Azizan’s medical report, which was clean. Azizan’s situation is rare and it is an isolated incident.

“We’ve seen thousands of trainees, men and women alike, going through the same training.

“But different people have different meta­bolism and capacities to withstand the heat.

“I was made to understand that Azizan was only a few days into the orientation when he fainted during a light jogging session in the field.

“The weather was cloudy at the time,” he said, adding that the other trainees were unaffected.

When asked if Pulapol would revise its training regimen, DCP Mohd Fuad said the matter would be “seriously looked into” to prevent a repeat.

“It is necessary for trainees to undergo a rigorous regimen to prepare them for the demands that come with being a police officer.

“The training is mentally and phy­­sically tough as police officers engage in life-and-death situations.

“They are always on the go and work long hours,” he added.


Temperatures in Malaysia could reach highest since 1998: Officials
Temperatures across the country have soared into the 30°C range over the past week, and officials say it could reach up to 40°C in the northern states of Peninsular Malaysia.
Sumisha Naidu, Malaysia Correspondent, Channel NewsAsia 18 Mar 16;

KUALA LUMPUR: The average temperature in Malaysia is typically 27°C, but in the past few weeks, temperatures have soared into the 30s.

It has been even hotter up in the northern states of Peninsular Malaysia, with officials saying temperatures there could reach up to 40°C, just 0.1°C short of the highest temperature ever recorded in Malaysia. In 1998, the mercury soared to 40.1°C in Perlis.

The authorities announced on Friday (Mar 18) that the Education Ministry can order schools to close if temperatures exceed 37°C for more than three days. Friday was the last day of the school holidays.

For seven-year-old Mukmin Mohd Qaiwum, he spent the day playing at a park in Kuala Lumpur. “I’m tired,” he said. “I’m sweating now.”

"If the students are at home, at least we can keep an eye on them ... if they have fever or nosebleeds,” said Mr Mohd Qaiwum, Mukmin’s father. "My eldest gets nosebleeds often, especially when it's hot."

"What's bringing on the effects and impact of heat and dryness right now is actually the El Nino phenomenon which is affecting our country as a whole, just like how it's affecting many other countries near the equator," explained Minister for Natural Resources and Environment Wan Junaidi Wan Jaafar.

The hot and dry weather has led to fears of water shortages across the country. In Peninsular Malaysia, at least five dams reported water levels below 50 per cent of their full capacity.

In the northern states of Perlis and Kedah, padi farmers have complained that the heat and lack of rain fall are delaying planting season too. All states, however, have not decided on water rationing yet.

Officials expect the worst of the dry spell to be over by April and the amount of rainfall to return to normal by June.

- CNA/yt


40°C threshold for ‘heatwave emergency’
JOSEPH KAOS JR. The Star 18 Mar 16;

PUTRAJAYA: The Government will declare a “heatwave emergency” if the temperature in an area exceeds 40°C for seven days or more.

The move is tops in a list of measures in the new heatwave “action plan” that was approved by the Cabinet on Friday.

Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar, who made the announcement, also said that schools in areas where the temperature hits 37°C and above for more than three days will be ordered to close.

He also said the Cabinet had approved the setting up of a special committee on the heatwave, which he will chair.

“The committee will be tasked to monitor the heatwave situation and execute the action plan.

“A first warning will be issued if temperatures reach or exceed 37 degrees Celcius for 72 hours. When the first warning is issued, we will order the postponement of outdoor activities at schools and outdoor sports activities,” said Dr Wan Junaidi, at a press conference here Friday.

“If the temperature hits 37 degrees Celsius for more than 72 hours, that is when we issue the second warning. Schools in affected areas will be ordered to close.

“The National Disaster Management Agency will be convened for a special meeting to discuss an emergency response plan.

“If temperatures go beyond 40 degrees Celsius for seven days or more, then the agency will declare a ‘heatwave emergency’ and announce the emergency measures to be taken,” he said.

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