Monday, January 11, 2016

Heat wave claims 11 lives in S. Africa

Eleven people have died as a result of heat stroke in South Africa, authorities said on Sunday.

All the deaths were reported in the North West Province, the provincial health department said.

The deceased were aged between 22 and 58 years, department spokesperson Tebogo Lekgethwane said.

Some people suffering from heat stroke have been admitted to hospital, he said.

The Mahikeng Provincial Hospital alone accepted 16 people over the past three days, he said.

As a persistent heat wave continued unabated, the North West Province has been declared a drought area under the Disaster Management Act.

A drought response task team consisting of goverment, organised agriculture and all municipalities in the province has been established. More than 19, 000 applications for financial assistance from commercial and subsistence farmers have been received.

The heat wave has worsened dry conditions not only in the province but also in Free State and Limpopo -- all maize producing regions.

The dry conditions are believed to be caused by cyclones in the Indian Ocean which absorbed the moisture from the sub continent's interior.

Crop farmers in the North West have suffered an estimated loss of 4.3 billion rand (about 269 million U.S. dollars) due to severe drought.

South African farmers are doubtful if there will be harvest due to recent dry conditions affecting most parts of the country.

 Xinhua -

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