Fatal heatwave hits South Sudan



from RAJI BASHIR in Khartoum, Sudan
Sudan Bureau
KHARTOUM, (CAJ News) -THE deadly heatwave in South Sudan is forecast to persist across much of the country through at least March 31.

An unspecified number of people have died from the excessive heat, which shows no sign of abating.

Health ministry officials have warned that temperatures ranging between 41C-to-45C (106-113 F) are expected over the next two weeks.

The public has been advised to take precautions to minimize the impact of the high temperatures, and authorities have closed schools nationwide until further notice.

“During the closure of schools, parents are advised to stop their children from playing outdoors,” read a joint statement by the ministries of education and health.

The extended period of high temperatures and dry conditions might magnify the potential for wildfires throughout the country, authorities said.

According to experts, heatwaves pose a health threat to vulnerable groups – such as the elderly, children, pregnant women, and those with respiratory illnesses.

These risks could also extend to relatively healthy individuals during significant heatwave events.

Overheated vehicles could prompt traffic disruptions in urban areas where congestion is already a problem.

Commercial trucking disruptions might occur, as very high temperatures put more stress on vehicles and make tire blowouts more common.

Flight disruptions are unlikely at regional airports but general aviation disruptions are possible, and some air freight carriers could reduce cargo loads.

The heatwave comes as the world’s newest country also suffers food insecurity and rising intercommunal conflict.

The United mission in the country (UNMISS) ON Monday reported 862 victims documented as being killed, injured, abducted, or subjected to conflict-related sexual violence during these incidents in the last quarter of 2023.

“Intercommunal conflict continues to cause immense harm to communities across the country,” said the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of UNMISS, Nicholas Haysom.

“UNMISS is doing all it can to prevent violence and build peace in the affected areas, but urgent intervention by authorities at the national, state and local levels is needed to resolve underlying grievances and build peace,” said the envoy.

South Sudan attained independence in 2011 and plunged into civil war two years later.

Elections are set for the end of this year.

– CAJ News

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