UAE feels the heat

Top Stories

UAE feels the heat

DUBAI - More than 50 cases of heat-related illnesses have been reported at hospitals across the country in the last three days as mercury peaked at 52.2C yesterday. A further 49 heat exhaustion cases have been treated at Dubai's Rashid Hospital since June, the most serious being a heat stroke case yesterday.

By Zoe Sinclair (Our staff reporter)

  • Follow us on
  • google-news
  • whatsapp
  • telegram

Published: Wed 16 Jul 2008, 2:41 AM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 6:13 PM

Al Ain Hospital received two heat exhaustion cases and at least 39 patients complained of kidney pain as a result of dehydration during the past three days.

The Seif Obadullah Hospital in Ras Al Khaimah yesterday received six patients who suffered from dehydration and low blood pressure.

The heat has also affected the productivity levels of construction workers. A Dubai Meteorological Office duty forecaster said the UAE’s rapid urbanisation had led to an average temperature increase of 0.6C.

It came as Minhad, on the outskirts of Dubai, recorded 52.2C yesterday.

Forecaster Giorgio Alessio said urbanisation was having a bigger impact than global warming in the UAE.

“We haven’t reached Dubai’s highest ever of 47.5C but the mean maximum has increased over the past 30 years by .5 or .6 degrees,” Alessio said. “The main cause is urbanisation, not global warming.”

Alessio explained that concrete buildings absorbed heat, while the greater number of buildings reduced the surface area of the land and its ability to release heat.

“The temperature was gradually increasing over the last 20 years but from about 2000 onwards the increase has sped up,” Alessio said.

Abu Dhabi recorded 48C yesterday, Dubai 44.4C, Sharjah 46C, Al Ain 47.6C, Ras Al Khaimah 44C and Fujairah 35C, according to the National Centre for Meteorology and Seismology.

The recent readings are considerably higher than Dubai’s July average of 41C.

However, Alessio cautioned that the high temperatures were recorded in inland areas, rather than the coastal cities such as Dubai and Abu Dhabi. “Minhad is 20km inland so the sea breeze is delayed by about an hour and half,” Alessio said.

“If you had a reading at Dubai airport above 50C that would be exceptional. I am sure some inland areas are even hotter than 51C but there are no weather readings there.”

Weather equipment at Minhad and Jebel Ali has been installed only recently.

Alessio said the weather bureau had no directive from any authority to issue a warning for work to cease above a certain temperature.

He said temperature was only one indication of weather conditions and humidity playing a greater role in increasing the stress.

More accurate information is provided by the bureau’s use of a comfort level index, scaling from 1 to 10, with 10 the most uncomfortable.

Alessio said construction companies and the public often referred to the index.

Dubai had one of the highest stress levels yesterday when it peaked at eight by mid-afternoon, after humidity increased on the sea breeze.

The WHO recommends that workers shouldn’t be exposed to environments that would cause their internal body temperature to exceed 38C.

A midday break is legislated for workers and construction companies report that the productivity of workers had gone down.

Hospitals also reported a number of heat-related cases, including heat exhaustion and one heat stroke case.

The high temperatures also made life uneasy for animals at Dubai Zoo but the zoo authorities have made enough arrangements to cool the surroundings.

More news from