Delivery workers in Thailand suffer from intense heat

Bangkok: In Siam Square in central Bangkok, Sriyan Wongwan sweats as he waits to pick up food delivered by motorbike as Thailand is hit by a heatwave.

“I’m scared of getting heat stroke,” the 51-year-old told AFP as the mercury reached 37 degrees Celsius and humidity pushed the “actual feel” temperature to 43 degrees.

Large swaths of Southeast Asia are suffering from record-breaking heatwaves, with millions of children forced to stay at home as schools are closed across the region. Experts say climate change is making heat waves more frequent, longer and more intense, and El Niño is also contributing to this year’s unusually warm weather.

Hardest hit are workers whose jobs require them to be outside all day, such as motorbike drivers who deliver food and hail taxis on Bangkok’s congested streets. .

“The way I protect myself is to drink more water so that I don’t faint and stay healthy,” Suryan said.

“On hot days like this, I drink it every time I park my bike.”

The air-conditioned shopping mall where I pick up my deliveries provides some respite, but I also worry that sudden changes in temperature could make me sick.

Isara Sanmol is one of the city’s corps of winmotosai (motorcycle taxi drivers), and has been doing this job since he was 17 years old.

These days, I drink 4-5 bottles of water a day to stay hydrated. This is twice the normal intake.

“We need enough sleep to work, otherwise the heat will have a negative effect on our bodies and health,” the 48-year-old told AFP while drinking water from a tumbler. .

In the early afternoon, he waits for customers at a shaded bike stand.

“If it’s too hot, you can take off your orange ‘Win’ jackets[motorcycle taxi drivers wear]and go inside the mall to cool off,” he says.

He has switched his clothing to more breathable and lighter fabrics, but still requires long pants and proper shoes to ride his motorcycle.

Sexis Prasatpon, who has been delivering food for Lineman App for the past two years, said the heat is “making it difficult to work.”

“I have to wash my face more often, go to the toilet and drink cold water regularly,” the 38-year-old told AFP during a break.

Although the heat will subside later in the day, changing work hours is not an option, Sexis said.

“Our rates are low. But the more you work, the more you earn,” he said.

He wants to incentivize drivers during hot weather, similar to how delivery fees currently go up during heavy rains. Sriyan also believes that fees should be increased to reflect the difficulty of the job.

Even in the heat, he said, “Riders like me still have to work because we need money to live our daily lives…especially now when everything is becoming more and more expensive.” Ta.

“I don’t think there is any option to help us because we have to go out.” – AFP

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