By Jose de Jesus Cortes
Oaxaca, Mexico, Jun 14 (EFE).- The heat wave that is broiling Mexico continued on Wednesday with 22 of the country’s 32 federal states and districts expecting temperatures above 40 C (104 F), according to the National Weather Service (SMN).
The heat has surprised the residents of states in the south, like Oaxaca, where 200 head of cattle and a teenager have died in temperatures reaching 42 C (108 F), in particular in the regions of Cuenca del Papaloapan, Costa, Istmo de Tehuantepec and the Central Valleys.
Cutberto Ruiz Jarquin, with the Oaxaca Civil Protection’s risks and weather coordination department, estimated that although the current heat wave has not set records it is indeed unusual because it has lasted for so many days.
“This third wave of heat has been around for almost 10 days. Who knows? There have been more days of heat and that, of course, creates a problem of hydric stress for the plants, problems of water shortage and some heat strokes,” he warned in an interview with EFE.
The heat wave, which is defined as a period of at least three consecutive days with above average temperatures, has made Mexico one of the hottest places in the Western Hemisphere this week.
In Oaxaca, the municipality of Loma Bonita registered the first death from the heat, although nationwide the death toll is six.
Argelia Julian Aquino, with the Oaxaca Health Secretariat’s Prevention department, said that the person who died was a 17-year-old boy who was working out in the pineapple fields.
“Unfortunately, this person was working in the pineapple fields. Apparently, at that time the temperature was very high and the necessary precautions were not taken,” she said.
Due to the persistence of the heat, some teachers have been taking measures to protect their students, including Pablo Julian Martinez, who left his school to help the student band rehearse in a local park.
“The school doesn’t have a roof, so we went out into this corridor to be able to rehearse, to cover ourselves a bit from the sun and … work more comfortably,” the teacher, who has been teaching school for more than 20 years, told EFE.
The effects of extreme heat in Oaxaca city can be seen in public parks, such as Paseo Juarez El Llano, Jardin Conzatti and in the tourist promenade, where only a few people currently dare to walk outside the shade of the trees and buildings.