Temperatures across the Middle East this week have soared in an unprecedented heat wave, forcing residents to stay indoors. In the Iranian city of Basrah, located in the epicentre of the heat wave, temperatures exceeded 48°C for the seventh day in a row on August 1. On the same day, the Iraq capital of Baghdad sweltered through its fourth consecutive day of temperatures higher than 48 degrees. Governments from both countries have been forced to declare public holidays to protect people from the sweltering temperatures.
Another round of United Nations climate talks were being negotiated in Warsaw, Poland, this week when the strongest typhoon recorded to hit land swept across the Philippines before moving on to Vietnam. Typhoon Haiyan, known locally as Yolanda, has killed an estimated 10,000 people in the area of Tacloban, mostly from the strong tsunami-like storm surges that accompanied the typhoon. Entire villages were flattened and a large rescue effort is underway to evacuate survivors.