High humidity can exacerbate the “felt temperature”, making it seem much hotter than it is. Image Credit: Shutterstock

Dubai: The summer of 2024 is shaping up to be a hot one. Most of the UAE can expect several scorching weeks, with temperatures hovering around 50 degrees Celsius during the peak of summer.

But what exactly defines a heatwave?

The UAE’s Ministry of Health and Prevention (MoHAP) has provided an explanation.

Taking to social media, it explains that heatwaves are natural weather events caused by warm air trapped in the atmosphere. Climate change, the ministry warns, is intensifying these events and making them more frequent, leading to potential health problems.

However, heatwaves don’t occur all of a sudden. They are defined by consecutive days with temperatures exceeding the normal seasonal average. High humidity can exacerbate the “felt temperature”, making it seem much hotter than it is, the ministry explained.

It further listed the groups of people who are most vulnerable to heat wave impacts — pregnant women, infants, children, the elderly, and outdoor workers.

MoHAP recognises the UAE’s diverse population and has disseminated this information in multiple languages, including Arabic, English, Mandarin, Tagalog, and Malayalam.

From July 1, the ministry launched a Heat Prevention campaign that aims to boost health awareness about the risks of heat exposure during the peak of summer and provide resources to prevent heat exhaustion and related health issues among workers exposed to sunlight.

At least 6,000 workers in Sharjah will be trained in first aid to respond to heat-related illnesses among their colleagues as part of the Heat Exhaustion Prevention campaign.

Apart from first aid training, site visits, and awareness campaigns through SMS and social media will be conducted to ensure that those who work outdoors are protected from the scorching heat.