Beating the heat.
That’s what this summer has been all about for Shanghai residents suffering from the hottest season in 140 years. The soaring temperatures were an extreme burden for those with outdoor jobs.
Spare a thought for the firemen, police, sanitation workers, repairman and athletes who couldn’t retreat to air-conditioned offices.
In Jidong Village in Huacao Town, a project to upgrade the tap water system was completed despite the sweltering heat. Plumbers and electricians had to work at all the water stations in the community, which has a population of about 600 families
“It was our duty to complete the project, no matter how hot it was,” said plumber-electrician surnamed Song, who declined to give his whole name because he said he was no hero worth singling out. “Otherwise, the lives of residents in the village would continue to be plagued by poor water supply. People do what they need to do. We don’t expect accolades.”
Sanitation and park workers were also out keeping the city’s facilities tidy and the plants watered. Some are lucky enough to start shifts at 4am before the extreme heat sets in.
“Everyone wants a city that is clean and green, comfortable and harmonious,” said a worker for the Zhuanyi Virescene Maintenance Co.
About 1,200 cleaners had to keep district waterways free of algae, ferns and other greenery that grew faster than usual due to the high temperatures. More than 150 tons of potentially clogging green matter was removed from Binjiang and Jiangjiagang rivers.
Shanghai’s Municipal Center for Disease Control and Prevention said the relentless heat wave caused a rise in sunstroke, sending more patients than usual to local hospitals. Most vulnerable were the elderly.
In Jiangchuan, Meilong and several other Minhang communities, doctors and nurses from community hospitals and clinics volunteered to visit the homes of senior citizens to check on their health and advise them on ways to stay cooler.
Cooler but not cold.
“Every day we wash the residents and then turn down air conditioners and fans so they don’t catch cold,” said one nursing assistant at the Minhang No. 2 Welfare House.
The Xinzhuang Fire Department said it responded to 227 calls a month this summer, with a record 21 fires on one day.
The 68 athletes from Minhang who qualified to attend the 2013 Liaoning Sports Meet had to work out on tracks and fields despite the heat.