A stifling heatwave that has swept parts of South Africa in recent weeks has killed eight people over several days, the government has said.
The dead were mostly farm workers in the sparsely populated and largely semi-arid Northern Cape province which borders Namibia and Botswana, according to the labour ministry.
“We are concerned about the impact of the hot weather parts of South Africa has been experiencing,” government spokesman Michael Currin said in a statement.
“We are extremely sad to hear about the passing of eight people that have died of heat stroke in the Northern Cape after a heatwave hit the province over the week,” he added.
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Parts of South Africa have been scorched by a summer heatwave with temperatures hitting 40 degrees Celsius on some days.
The European Union’s climate monitoring service said earlier this month that the last eight years were the warmest on record globally.
Johannesburg Emergency Services Robert Mulaudzi has urged residents to take precaution during the extreme hot temperatures.
“Residents are urged to drink lots of water, avoid direct sunlight especially between 11am and 3pm. Those who are working under direct sunlight must take regular break so that we can prevent situations of heat exhaustion and heat cramps which may lead to heat stroke.”
“From our side as the City of Johannesburg Emergency Management Services, we remain on high alert so that we can respond to any emergencies that might occur throughout the City of Johannesburg,” Mulaudzi said.
Meanwhile, the South African Weather Services (Saws) has also warned of high temperatures across other parts of the country.
“A heatwave with persistently high temperatures is expected over Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal until Tuesday. Fine and hot. The expected UVB sunburn index is extreme.