Around 80 people have died in Bangladesh after temperatures dropped to a record low of three degrees Celsius (37.4 Fahrenheit), officials said Thursday.
Hospitals were crowded with patients suffering respiratory illness as many were not prepared for the cold snap.
“According to the reports of our district offices and local administrations about 80 people have died due to cold-related diseases such as respiratory problems, pneumonia and cough,” according to Abu Bakar, general-secretary of the Red Crescent Society.
Hardest hit were impoverished rural areas where most people could not afford warm clothing or heating, the society said.
The lowest temperature was recorded at three degrees Celsius in the northern town of Syedpur, AFP reports. Bangladesh normally sees temperatures fall to around 10 degrees Celsius. The last time the temperature had dropped to three degrees Celsius was in 1968.
“The temperature is the lowest in Bangladesh’s history,” says Shah Alam, deputy of the weather office, adding that temperatures were expected to rise from Saturday.