By Gift Briton

East Africans may need to take caution to protect themselves from the ongoing heatwave that has resulted in the closure of schools and caused deaths in some parts of the region.

In recent months, concerns over exceptionally hot temperatures have emerged in different parts of the region, with the latest incident being the ongoing extreme heatwave in South Sudan.

South Sudan is experiencing a sweltering heatwave, an incident that has prompted the government to indefinitely close all learning institutions as a mitigation measure.

In a joint statement signed by South Sudan’s Ministries of Health and Education on March 16, the government threatened to withdraw the registration of any school found open beginning March 18, instructing parents to look out for their children and report any signs of heat exhaustion or heatstroke.

The authorities say that a system has been put in place to detect and respond to cases, as some cases of heat-related deaths have already been reported in the country.

The episodes of extreme heatwaves across East Africa are a reminder for people to be on the lookout and follow the weather advisories issued by various credible weather and climate authorities in the region to avoid heat-related illnesses.

For instance, the Eastern Africa’s weather and climate body, popularly known as ICPAC, predicts in its seasonal forecast that most parts of the region will continue to experience warmer-than-usual temperatures up to April 2024.

Furthermore, according to ICPAC’s weekly forecast, most parts of South Sudan, and a few regions in western Ethiopia and north-western Kenya will experience high temperatures above 32℃ in the next seven days.

However, elevated levels of heat stress are expected in most parts of South Sudan, north-western and eastern Kenya, eastern Tanzania and southern Somalia.

People, especially those residing in the above-named areas may need to adjust and follow the measures issued by authorities, including regular hydration, limiting prolonged exposure to high temperatures, reducing the heat load in houses, avoiding alcohol and too much caffeine and sugar, which are dehydrating, eating small but frequent meals, and avoiding foods that are high in protein, alongside other precaution measures.