04/20/2023, 18.29
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As heat wave persists, Christians and Muslims pray for rain

by Sumon Corraya

Recent temperatures are 12 per cent higher compared to the same period last year. The government has cut power supplies to cope with rising energy demand. Muslims prayed in a mosque for rain, while Christian women sang traditional songs and visited families.

Dhaka (AsiaNews) – As South Asia sizzles in a heat wave that has not let up in the past two weeks, Christians and Muslims in Bangladesh prayed for rain.

Several cities of the South Asian country have reported some of the highest temperatures in 60 years. Last week, the capital Dhaka, which has not had any rain since 3 April, hit 40.6 Celsius, while yesterday, the city of Ishwardi reached almost 43 degrees.

According to government data, Dhaka's average maximum temperatures was 4.3 per cent higher in the week of 12-19 April, and 12.5 per cent higher than in the same period last year.

Only in 1960 did the temperature in Dhaka top 42 degrees. The highest temperature ever recorded in Bangladesh was 45 degrees in Rajshahi in 1975.

Large urban areas with few trees are the most affected by extreme heat. As a result, people are staying away from shops and public transit. And only the wealthiest Bangladeshis can afford air conditioning at home.

The government has been forced to impose power cuts to avoid outages as demand for electricity surged by 14 per cent, fuelled in part by greater use of irrigation pumps by farmers.

In light of the situation, a group of women and children at the St Joseph's parish church in Kamolapur, Dharenda (Dhaka) prayed for rain.

“God, give us rain, give us water, give us shade. The sky is in pieces and the land breaks,” they sang. Afterwards the women visited a number of homes, sprinkling water on people.

“We women and children have appealed to God for rain with tears,” said one of the women, Lovely Homes, a teacher who led the prayer. “Nature has become tough. We, human beings, birds, animals, trees, all are badly suffering the from heat wave,” she told AsiaNews.

"We want rain to come soon,” Gomes added. “People can drink water if they are thirsty, but birds are not getting any water and many of them are dying. Our prayer to God is sincere, that He may give us rain so that we may live.”

Muslims in Dhaka’s Tejgaon area are also praying in accordance with Islamic practices.

"When it hasn't rained for a long time, God says to pray for rain. So we prayed together," said Imam Al-Amin at a local mosque, speaking to AsiaNews. “The situation gets stifling in the summer. The temperature has been rising continuously for several days. May Allah protect us.”

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