PETALING JAYA, March 29 — As Malaysians continue to struggle with the heat and humidity brought by the El Nino phenomenon, the number of heat-related cases has also risen along with the temperature.
Health Ministry director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said 99 heat-related cases had been reported since March 1.
“We see an increase in the number of heat-related cases because we have also taken into account cases reported from government health clinics, apart from those reported at government hospitals,” he said.
According to a statement by Health Ministry, there were 22 heat cramp cases, 63 heat exhaustion cases and 14 heatstroke cases reported since last Tuesday.
“This includes the case of a police trainee who died of heatstroke in Johor recently,” Dr Noor Hisham said.
However, he said there had been a decrease in the number of cases reported in the last 72 hours.
“This is a good thing but it also depends on the areas involved. There could be more unreported cases out there because they did not seek medical attention,” he said.
There had been 35 heat-related cases reported from March 1 to March 22. The number rose to 64 cases reported from March 23 to March 27 which has led to a total of 99 cases this month.
The number of open burning cases has also been on the rise, with 223 cases reported in January, 243 reported last month, and 388 this month.
Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said many people were unaware open burning was against the law.
“Most cases took place in rural areas, as many still think it is not an issue to carry out open burning,” he said.
Wan Junaidi said 65 offenders were issued compounds, 10 were given stern warnings, 18 were served with notices, and four would be hauled to court.
“Sometimes, we find a bush fire was actually caused by someone who indiscriminately threw a cigarette bud. As the bush was already dry, it caught fire easily and spread very fast,” he said.