- By Kathryn Armstrong
- BBC News
Red alerts have been issued for almost 3,000 towns and cities across Brazil, which have been experiencing an unprecedented heatwave.
Records have been broken in areas including the city Rio de Janeiro – where temperatures felt as high as 52.5C.
More than a hundred million people have been affected by the heat, which is expected to last until at least Friday.
Officials have attributed it to the El Niño phenomenon and climate change.
The city of Sao Paulo saw average temperatures of 37.3C on Tuesday afternoon, the National Institute of Meteorology (Inmet) reported.
“I’m exhausted, it’s hard,” Riquelme da Silva, 22, told AFP news agency on the streets there.
“When I get home, it’s cold water, otherwise I can’t even get up because I’m so tired. It’s even hard to sleep.”
Dora, a 60-year-old street vendor, described the heat as “unbearable” for those who worked outside.
Inmet has issued red alerts for a large part of the country. These indicate that temperatures may be 5C above average for longer than five days and could pose a serious danger to health.
The heatwave, which comes more than a month before the beginning of summer in the southern hemisphere, has seen Brazil’s energy consumption soar to record levels as people try to keep themselves cool.
Extreme weather is becoming more frequent and more intense in many places around the world because of climate change.
Meanwhile, the Earth is currently in an El Niño weather phase, during which time global temperatures typically increase.
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