Heat wave claims 11 lives in South Africa

South Africa's President, Jacob Zuma
South Africa's President, Jacob Zuma

South Africa authorities said on Sunday in Cape Town that 11 people have died of heat stroke, with a loss $269 million due to severe drought in the country.

The health department said all the deaths were reported in the North West Province.

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

He said some people suffering from heat stroke have been admitted to hospital.

“The Mahikeng Provincial Hospital alone accepted 16 people over the past three days.”

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

He said a drought response task team, consisting of government, 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’’, he said.

Mr. Lekgethwane said 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 269 million dollars due to severe drought.

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

(Xinhua/NAN)

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