3 April 2024 - Philippines

PHILIPPINES: Heatwave forces hundreds of schools to shut with classes moved online to beat the heat

save the children press release

MANILA, 3 April - Extreme heat in the Philippines has forced hundreds[1] of schools to shut as the Southeast Asian nation’s government warns temperatures could soar further this week in more than half of the country’s regions. The dangerous heatwave is putting children’s health and wellbeing at risk, with an urgent need for global leaders to act to combat the climate crisis to protect education, said Save the Children.  

In the capital Manila, an announcement by the Division of City Schools[2] said that schools would be allowed to suspend in-person classes or shift to online lessons due to the “high heat index currently experienced in the country.” It added that teachers and students were allowed to wear more comfortable, non-uniform clothing to combat the heat.

Temperatures in at least ten of the country’s 17 regions are expected to hit or exceed 42 °C by 4 April [3], about 20 % higher than normal for April[4], or what the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) defines in its heatwave index as a ‘dangerous level’ [5]

March, April and May are typically the hottest months in the Philippines but this year weather conditions have been exacerbated by the ongoing El Nino weather phenomenon which is expected to last until May.[6]  El Nino has warmed parts of the Pacific Ocean and has triggered extreme weather events such as heatwaves.

Atty. Alberto Muyot, CEO of Save the Children Philippines, said:

“Educators and local authorities have been forced to take the extreme decision to shut hundreds of schools because this extreme heat means children are simply unable to concentrate in the classroom and their health is also at risk. We need to see urgent action now to limit warming to a maximum of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. Failing to do this will have dramatic consequences for children’s health, safety, and wellbeing.”

Climate change is raising global temperatures and causing historic heat waves around the world with more countries facing hotter days more frequently. One third of the word’s children -774 million - live with the double threat of climate change and poverty.[7]

2023 was the world’s warmest year since records began in 1850 and saw global temperatures rise 1.18°C (2.12°F) above the 20th-century average of 13.9°C (57.0°F).[8]

Limiting warming to 1.5 °C would reduce the number of people frequently exposed to extreme heatwaves by about 420 million, with about 65 million fewer people exposed to exceptional heatwaves.[9]

Extreme heat poses unique risks at different stages of childhood. For example, children under age 5 are the most at risk of increased heat-related mortality and morbidity, while extreme heat can have serious effects on the mental well-being of all children.[10]

Save the Children has been working in the Philippines since 1981 with programs in humanitarian response, health and nutrition, education, and children's rights and protection.


[1] https://www.france24.com/en/live-news/20240402-dozens-of-philippine-schools-suspend-classes-over-heat-danger

[2] https://manila.gov.ph/breaking-division-of-city-schools-manila-announced-mitigation-measures-in-public-schools-in-the-city/

[3] https://www.pagasa.dost.gov.ph/climate/climate-heat-index

[4] https://weather-and-climate.com/averages-Philippines-April

[5] https://www.pagasa.dost.gov.ph/climate/climate-heat-index

[6] https://www.pagasa.dost.gov.ph/climate/el-nino-la-nina/monitoring

[7] REPORT - Generation Hope: 2.4 billion reasons to end the global climate and inequality crisis (2022) https://resourcecentre.savethechildren.net/p8jywI6/

[8] https://www.climate.gov/news-features/featured-images/2023-was-warmest-year-modern-temperature-record

[9] https://climate.nasa.gov/news/2865/a-degree-of-concern-why-global-temperatures-matter/

[10] https://www.unicef.org/stories/heat-waves-impact-children#children




For further enquiries please contact:


Amy Lefevre, Global Media Manager, Asia: Amy.Lefevre@savethechildren.org


Kay Maatubang, Brand and Integrated Communications Manager, Save the Children Philippines: felycora.maatubang@savethechildren.org


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