Heatwave continues to bake parts of the Middle East

Iraq bearing the brunt of persistent hot weather as temperatures in Baghdad and Basra close in on 50C.

    The heatwave in Iraq is showing no signs of ending as suffering continues for the residents.

    The extreme temperatures have also reached parts of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Iran but its greatest impact is being felt in Iraq.

    The ongoing turmoil in the country has left tens of thousands of people displaced. Many are living in temporary accommodation where lack of air conditioning and intermittent electricity supplies means having to endure temperatures well in excess of what is normal in the the late summers.

    There has been a marked increase in the number of people admitted into hospitals suffering from heat exhaustion and dehydration.

    Farmers have reported that crops are also suffering due to the high temperatures and lack of water for irrigation purpose.

    Economists estimate that the country's GDP has shrunk by 20 to 30 percent during this period.

    May 2016 sets new world record as the hottest month

    Extreme summer heat is to be expected across much of the region. This sub-tropical desert is the Eastern Hemisphere equivalent of the Mojave Desert, including Death Valley, in California.

    Although Death Valley continues to hold the record for the highest observed temperature in the world (56.7C), temperatures in the Middle East do not lag far behind.

    Temperatures have been enough above the long-term average to warrant it being described as a heatwave.

    This is the second phase of the heatwave that began in July. Then, temperatures across Iraq were well in excess of 50C, prompting the closure of many government buildings.

    Getting hotter

    On July 21, a yet-to-be-verified temperature of 54C was recorded in Mitribah, Kuwait.

    If confirmed, this will be the highest temperature recorded in the Eastern Hemisphere.

    While Mitribah was grabbing the headlines, Basra, close to the northern end of the Arabian Gulf, recorded a similar temperature on that day.

    That was during July, the peak of the summer heat.

    By mid to late August, temperatures inevitably dip as the sun continues its journey towards the celestial equator. Temperatures in Baghdad, for example, should be dropping back to around 42C.

    Yet, at Baghdad International Airport, temperatures reached 48.6C on Saturday. Basra International Airport was even hotter at 48.2C.

    In the coming days, temperatures could rise further with 50C or more than likely to occur in Basra. A temperature of 50C is possible during the first couple of days of September.

    There is some good news for Baghdad, however, as some respite is likely to arrive next week with temperatures no higher than 43C by Sunday.

    As the world warms, the ice melts

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera News and agencies


    Interactive: Coding like a girl

    Interactive: Coding like a girl

    What obstacles do young women in technology have to overcome to achieve their dreams? Play this retro game to find out.

    Why America's Russia hysteria is dangerous

    Why America's Russia hysteria is dangerous

    The US exaggerating and obsessing about foreign threats seems quite similar to what is happening in Russia.

    Heron Gate mass eviction: 'We never expected this in Canada'

    Hundreds face mass eviction in Canada's capital

    About 150 homes in one of Ottawa's most diverse and affordable communities are expected to be torn down in coming months