Heatwave keeps hospitals busy
Shanghai battles to stay cool as the mercury soars
A heatwave gripping Shanghai entered its 10th day yesterday, one day after temperatures reached the highest level in 71 years, causing a spike in heat-related injuries and forcing residents to find ways to cool off.
The mercury passed 38 degrees yesterday, prompting the city to issue another warning. Temperatures have stayed above 35 degrees for 10 straight days. On Sunday, the mercury hit 39 degrees - the highest recorded since July 1934 when the temperature reached 39.3 degrees.
The highest temperature since the city started keeping records in 1873 was 40.2 degrees - also in July 1934. That year Shanghai endured 55 days of high temperatures, a record that still stands.
The heat was so bad in July 1934 that people collapsed dead on the street, more than 1,000 people were admitted to hospital each day and boats were left grounded as waterways dried up.
During the current heatwave, hospitals have received more than 600 calls for ambulances for people suffering heatstroke and cardiac and respiratory problems, local media said.
Sales of air conditioners, electric fans, hand-held fans and bamboo mats have surged in the past 10 days.
One top household appliance chain was reporting a week-long wait for delivery of newly purchased air conditioners.
At People's Park in the city centre, children stripped down to their underwear and frolicked in the fountain by the Shanghai Museum. But attendance at other parks plunged as much as 95 per cent on the weekend as people remained inside.
At the city's two zoos, keepers gave animals several tonnes of ice, chilled fruit and even air conditioners in their cages, while at the Shanghai Wild Animal Park, racing greyhounds sat in a paddling pool.
In the city's Nanhui area, a steel tank containing ammonia exploded at about noon, sending the tank three storeys into the air and poisoning about 60 people, Xinhua reported. The tank was among nine tanks carrying liquefied ammonia left in a truck, directly exposed to the sun.