Heatwave forces closure of schools in South Sudan

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The government of South Sudan has decided to close all schools starting Monday, March 18, 2024, in response to an ongoing heatwave sweeping across the country. This measure is being implemented as a precautionary step to safeguard children from the harmful health effects of excessive heat exposure.

Yolanda Awel Deng, the Minister of Health, has highlighted the severe impact of excessive heat on the well-being of the population.

"Extended periods of high day and night-time temperatures create cumulative physiological stress on the human body," Minister Deng stated.

With temperatures soaring as high as 41°C-45°C, the situation poses significant risks to public health.

"Heatwaves can acutely impact large populations, often triggering public health emergencies and resulting in excess mortality," said Deng.

In light of these concerns, Deng stressed the importance of proactive measures to mitigate the impact of the heatwave and urged parents to ensure their children stay indoors and avoid outdoor activities.

The Ministry has already reported cases of deaths related to excessive heat, underscoring the urgent nature of the situation.

"The awareness of the health risks posed by heatwaves is necessary," Minister Deng emphasised. "Practical interventions at various levels can save lives," the minister noted

Deng emphasized the necessity of raising awareness about the health risks posed by heat waves and implementing practical interventions at various levels to save lives.

Parents are further advised to closely monitor their children, especially young ones, for signs of heat-related illnesses such as heat exhaustion and heatstroke.

The closure of schools aims to prioritize the health and well-being of students during these extreme weather conditions. Any school found operating during this period will face consequences, including the withdrawal of its registration.

Both state and national authorities are directed to enforce these measures effectively. The Ministry of Health will continue to closely monitor the situation and provide updates to the public as necessary.

As the heat wave persists, government officials stress the importance of adhering to health advisories and taking appropriate precautions to minimize health risks associated with high temperatures.

The collective efforts of individuals, communities, and governmental agencies are crucial in mitigating the impacts of extreme weather events on public health and safety.

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