‘Zimbabwe must brace for heatwave’

Zimbabwe will experience extremely high temperatures throughout this week, the SADC Climate Services Centre (CSC) has warned.

These high temperatures that can possibly reach heatwave thresholds will also be experienced across the SADC region

Heatwave poses a public threat to people, especially the young and senior citizens who are urged to stay hydrated and indoors.

In a statement released Monday, SADC said the temperatures will range between 30 degrees Celsius and 35 degree Celsius.

“Parts of central SADC will experience temperatures above 35 degrees Celsius over a consecutive period of three days and occasions where temperatures have a high probability to exceed 40 degrees Celsius, thus reaching the threshold for heatwave alert during the forecast period,” said the regional body’s climate service centre in its Issue Number: 2 for the 2019 to 2020 season.  

According to SADC, extreme south-eastern Angola, north and eastern most parts of Botswana, eastern half of Eswatini, south-western parts of Madagascar, southern Malawi, most of Mozambique, extreme north eastern Namibia, eastern fringes of South Africa, south and eastern Zambia, northern fringes and southern half of Zimbabwe will experience high probability to experience a heatwave during the period of October 25 to 31.

“Most of the central parts of the SADC region stretching from southern Angola through eastern Namibia, Botswana, most of Zambia, Zimbabwe,, southern Malawi to northern Mozambique and southern Tanzania are in a Heatwave WATCH category. Western Madagascar is also in a WATCH category for a potential heat wave during the forecast period of 25 to 31 October 2019,” read the statement.

SADC’s CSC recommended that for parts of the region where there is a high probability for a heat-wave to be experienced, there is need to adhere to all the health advisories provided by local institutions in Member States.

“Precautions are advised in these areas to avoid heat related health problems, such as heat stroke amongst others. Users are encouraged to consult the National Meteorological and Hydrometeorological Services (NMHSs) in the SADC Member States interpretation and the relevant National Institutions,” urged the climate service centre.

The next advisory would be issued dependant on a sustained high temperature forecast expected to occur in more than a single SADC Member State, added the climate service centre.

According to health officials, such maximum temperatures can increase risk to public health from this hot weather.

Heat-related illnesses increase when the human body is not given time to cool off overnight.

Heat stress and poor air quality can exacerbate other illnesses and even lead to heat stroke, which can be deadly.

The groups most vulnerable to heat-related illnesses include the elderly, chronically ill, children and outdoor workers. Pets are also vulnerable, particularly if they are left in areas without air conditioning and proper hydration.

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