A 300-year-lost Philippine city discovered by drought

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,- The Philippines' unusual weather phenomena has shook the nation and had worrisome repercussions. One of them is the finding of a 300 year old settlement buried beneath a sizable dam. The reservoir was built, and in the 1970s the observatory city, as it is known, sank for construction. But during really hot and dry weather, the city returns, presenting unique sights and drawing worldwide interest.

Nearly half of the Philippines was afflicted by drought at its height. Some regions even reported peaking temperatures. Expert Marlon Paladin of the government agency that runs the dam told AFP that this is the longest the "lost" city has been submerged since it was constructed. This affects nearby towns greatly and draws attention to hitherto unheard-of drought levels.

The heat wave that struck the Philippines not only disrupted the daily lives of its people but also resulted in days-long school closures and the recommendation for office employees to work remotely. Big difficulties arise from this illness in daily life and business. Meteorologist Benison Estareja said that the next few days may still see somewhat warmer air temperatures. He further confirmed that the Philippines is one of the nations most susceptible to the effects of climate change and that the heat they are now experiencing could get worse in the future.

El Nino is an anomalous warming phenomena on the Pacific Ocean's sea surface that is aggravating the summer and rains that are now affecting the Philippines. Eastern coast of the nation is particularly affected. Water for the surface in the surrounding area is supplied by the observatory, the dam that unveils this old city. But the water surface level in the dam fell over 50 meters from its greatest normal level due to a protracted drought, which put a great strain on the local water supply and agriculture.

Several public health issues are also presented by these harsh circumstances. The body perceives an extremely high temperature because of the high heat index; it even reaches a record 45 degrees Celsius. Since extended exposure to it might cause heat attacks, it is classified as "hazardous". Three-quarters of the Philippine economy depends on energy, which the heat wave has also stifled on the major island of Luzon. Since 13 power plants were closed earlier this month, the power supply is getting smaller, which is causing worries about potential blackouts and how they will affect people's daily life.
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Still, this severe weather hasn't just impacted the Philippines. Severe heat waves that impact nearby populations and infrastructure are also hitting countries around Southeast Asia. While in Vietnam people are trying to avoid heat stroke by visiting the air-conditioned malls in the commercial district of Ho Chi Minh City, the air temperature in Myanmar has risen above 45 degrees Celsius.

Raising temperatures in Indonesia also resulted in a rise in hemorrhagic fever cases, which are transmitted by mosquito bites. A year ago, there were 15,000 instances of hemorrhagic fever; now, the Ministry of Health reports, there are more than double that amount. While higher temperatures quicken the life cycle of mosquitoes that cause hemorrhagic fever, the El Nino weather pattern has extended the rainy season. It poses questions about the general health and puts the medical system under pressure to deliver sufficient treatment.

Extreme weather not only affects health but also presents Southeast Asian people with social and economic problems. Among the consequences are school closures, higher electricity use, and agricultural damage, which emphasizes the need of reducing and adapting to climate change as well as stepping up measures to shield people from the more frequent extreme weather events.

The catastrophic weather events that are taking place in the Philippines and other Southeast Asian nations are therefore a warning about how urgently action must be taken in response to climate change. Communities and infrastructure need to be protected against the growing effects of extreme weather by robust adaptation efforts and effective mitigation measures. We cannot lower the hazards associated with climate change and preserve the sustainability of the earth for coming generations without international collaboration and prompt and suitable emergency response.(Newsline Paper Teams)
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