By Thitima Petchdam and Natcha Niewthong
Special to The Nation
While many can shield themselves from the scorching sunlight by staying in the shade or even in cool air-conditioned places, many others have to simply brave the hot weather as their jobs require them to be outdoor to make ends meet. These include construction workers, motorcycle taxi riders, vendors, labourers and farmers. Commuters also have to face the heat on jam-packed buses or while waiting at bus stops or ambling down pavements seeking shade from neighbouring buildings. This year, the Thai Meteorological Department announced that the start of the Thai summer was on March 3 and predicted its end around mid-May. April saw the hottest temperature readings of 40-42 degrees Celsius, coinciding with the Sun’s zenith phenomenon in the provinces until early this month. The summer heat is reported to be particularly severe in the north and northeast, where many cities are at a high altitude or surrounded by mountains that block the winds that give respite from the overhead sun. Summer in the south, although also beset by a strong sun, is more frequently soothed by winds and rain. Thai health authorities have warned people to avoid staying outdoors too long and to keep sipping water to prevent dehydration. People, especially the elderly, could suffer heatstroke when the mercury soars beyond 40 degrees Celsius, they say. Those in need of emergency medical aid can call the hotline 1669.