More Than 100 People Die As Extreme Heatwave Devastates Mali

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More than 100 people have died in Mali because of an extreme heatwave that hit the country last month, reports say.

Last week the south-western town of Kayes recorded a temperature high of 48.5°C.

It would be the hottest day in African history recorded in April, according to meteorologists cited by online news website RFI.

Gabriel-Toure Hospital in the capital, Bamako, received 102 heat-affected patients who died upon arrival, the French RFI news website reported.

Most of them were over 60 years of age and chronically ill, Djibo Mahamane Django, the head of the anaesthesia department at the hospital told local Joliba FM.

Some local sources put the death toll at over 250 in three days.

“We’ve seen an increase in the number of deaths, and the mortuaries are much fuller,” Ladji Dibatéré, a funeral home owner, was quoted as saying.

Mr Dibatéré said families are forced to keep the bodies of their relatives at home.

Officials have urged residents to stay in well-ventilated areas and restricted learning for schoolchildren as the young and elderly are the most vulnerable, Mali’s state-run ORTM TV station reported.

Authorities have shortened and changed the school hours for primary school students to protect them from the fatal temperatures.

The high temperatures have been attributed to the El Nino weather phenomenon, which has raised ocean and atmospheric temperatures.

The Malian military junta is yet to comment on the rising temperatures.