말레이시아의 ‘잠 못 이루는 밤’··· ‘이상 고온’ 농산물가격 폭등

?* ‘아시아엔’ 해외필진 기고문의 한글요약본과 원문을 함께 게재합니다.

극심한 폭염으로 물병을 통째로 들이키고 있는 한 남성

극심한 폭염으로 물병을 통째로 들이키고 있는 한 남성 <사진=AP/뉴시스>

[아시아엔=노릴라 다우드 전 CAJ 회장·번역 김아람 기자] 말레이시아 전역이 올해 1월부터 시작된 이상 고온으로 뜨겁게 달아올랐다. 때문에?야외활동을 취소하고 집에서 휴식을 보내는 이들이 늘어나면서 말레이 국민들의 생활패턴이 달라지고 있다.

일부 학교들은 탈수방지를 위해 학생들에게 충분한 물을 가져오라고 당부한 상태했고, 고온현상이 심한 지역의 학교들은 일주일간 휴교 조치를 내리기까지 했다. ?현지 정부도 가급적 바깥 활동을 자제하고 어두운 색보다 햇빛을 덜 흡수하는 밝은 색의 옷을 입도록 권고했다. 보건복지부 역시 비상상황을 대비해 전국 병원에 ‘열사병 환자’ 가이드라인을 배포했다.

에어컨을 판매하는 리자 오스만은 “최근 들어 에어컨 수요가 급증했다. 밤낮으로 날씨가 너무 더워서 그런 거 같다”고 전했다. 그는 “더운데다 너무 습하다 보니 집에선 거의 옷을 벗고 생활하는 경우가 많다”고 덧붙였다.

이상 고온이 바꾼 것은 생활패턴뿐만이 아니다. 가뭄이 극심해 다수의 농가에서 피해가 속출하고 있다. 심한 경우 화재가 발생해 작물이 다 타버리는 사고가 발생하기도 한다.

말레이 동부에 위치한 사바주(州)는 피해가 특히 심각하다. 과수원, 팜 오일 농장 등 수백 헥타르 면적이 지난 몇 주간 발생한 화재로 잿더미가 돼버린 것이다. 말레이 과학기술부는 “화재가 발생한 커닝고우 지역에서 10일간 35도 이상의 고온현상이 발생했다”고 말했다.

북부에 위치한 코타 블루드에서도 가뭄으로 인한 피해가 끊이질 않고 있다. 지역 정부는 “지금까지 화재 및 가뭄으로 피해를 입은 농가 30여곳의 보고서를 받은 상태”라고 전했다. 가뭄으로 인해 과일 가격도 크게 올랐다. 대만과 일본에 판매되는 하루마니스 망고나무는 1kg당 80랑깃(2만3천원)에서 100랑깃(2만8천원)으로 가격이 뛰었고, 오이 가격도 절반 가까이 치솟았다. 이상 고온 현상이 지속될 경우, 향후 과일과 채소 등 농산물 가격은 더욱 오를 전망이다.

한편, 지난 2주간 말레이 전국의 쇼핑몰 방문객이 20%~35% 증가한 것으로 나타났다. 더위를 피해 냉방이 잘되는 쇼핑몰로 사람들이 몰렸기 때문이다. 이에 대해 HC 찬 말레이시아쇼핑몰협회 관계자는 “쇼핑몰 내부는 23도~25도의 쾌적한 온도를 유지하고 있다. 때문에 폭염을 피해 쇼핑몰을 찾은 방문객이 단기간 급증한 것으로 보인다”고 전했다.

이처럼 말레이시아가 폭염으로 몸살을 앓고 있는 것은 최근 들어 강력해진 ‘엘니뇨’ 때문인 것으로 전해진다 엘니뇨는 적도 부근의 무역풍이 약화됨에 따라 해수면 온도가 상승해 전세계에서 이상기후를 유발하는 현상이다.?이로 인해 동남아와 호주 북동부 지역은 극심한 가뭄에 시달리는 반면 동태평양에 인접한 중남미에서는 폭우와 홍수가 잇따른다.

Malaysians “restless” due to heat wave

THE heat wave that has been around in Malaysia since January this year is expected to stay until June. The long stay of the heat wave is definitely going to change the lifestyles of the people from spending too much time outside to staying in the house to prevent from getting heatstroke.

The routine of the school children has to be changed first. Some schools have been closed for a week because of the unbearable heat. Concurrently, all outside activities have been postponed, instead the school children have to carry their co-curricular activities indoor.

School children are also being advised to bring with them enough drinking water to avoid from dehydration. At the same time members of the public are also being advised to stay in the house as far as possible. They are also advised to wear light coloured clothes that will not absorb heat easily.

According to the air-conditioner sales and service staff, Liza Othman, more people are buying the cooling units for their house these days. The day and the night heat are unbearable.

She said, house occupants feel more comfortable to put on light clothes and “half naked” as the high humidity is torturing them. With the air conditioner unit, they can sleep well and feel fresh to work the next day.

Presumably the Malaysians today are experiencing a “restless life” as the current heat wave is not only affecting their activities outside the house but also causing drought and in some cases crops were destroyed by fires.

In Sabah (East Malaysia), it was reported that several hundred hectares of crops including fruit orchards, rubber and oil palm estates in the interior Keningau district have been destroyed by fires over the past week.

About 10 villages in the district were affected and the losses could not be determined as the natural disaster and relief committee was waiting reports from the affected land owners.

The Science, Technology and Innovation Ministry had reported that Keningau was one of the three areas in the country where temperatures had exceeded 35 degrees Centigrade for more than 10 days consecutively.

Over the northern Kota Belud district, officials there had received some 30 reports of padi crops being destroyed by the drought. Meanwhile the District Officer of the district, Gari Itam said, they had received nine reports of padi crops, rubber and palm oil trees being damaged by fires.

The trees of the Harumanis mango which are sold at RM80 to RM100 per kilogram (USD25) in Taiwan and Japan are fruiting sporadically and threatening to make its price soar even higher this year.

Malaysian Agricultural Research and Development (Mardi) of Arau Perlis, station manager, Othman Ismail said, Perlis was the best place in Malaysia to grow Harumanis which is an Indonesian clone famed for its unrivalled sweetness and fine texture.

“When the heat is too much, the flowers wilt before they can be pollinated . In some old orchards we are helping to rejuvenate, there are no fruits at all,” he said.

Meanwhile, shopping malls across the country are experiencing an increase of 20 to 35 percent visitors since last two weeks. They enter shopping malls to escape from the heat.

The adviser for the Malaysian Shopping Malls Association, HC Chan said, malls were comfortable and more relaxing and not as hot as outdoor as temperatures within the confines of the mall were regulated between 23 to 25 degrees Centigrade.

Most of the malls are well prepared for the increase in visitors throughout the hot weather. They have also prepared the guards to perform medical aid in case some customers feel uncomfortable or suffer a heatstroke.

In a statement made by the Ministry Of Health recently, they have also advised and gave guidelines to staffs of private clinics and hospitals the right ways to handle heatstroke patients.

The El Nino phenomena has not only contributed to the rise in temperature but to vegetables prices as well. Many sellers claim that the dry spell has hit their supply as the heat has affected output at farms.

A trader, Tan Ming Wai,40, said, the price of cucumber had gone up by 50% from RM1 to RM1.50 per kilogram. The prices began to rise on Tuesday when the suppliers told him that the hot weather is to be blamed and the prices may continue to rise.

Another seller, M. Muthu 50, said he had no choice but to raise the prices of lady fingers by 6% from RM6.50 to RM6.90 per kilogram.

He said, the increase started after the last festive season and it continued to rise due to the hot weather.

Leave a Reply