2 die as heatwave batters Western Cape

The two were apparently waiting in a queue at a local mall yesterday when they collapsed.

FILE: Thermometer. Picture: Free Images.

CAPE TOWN - Two people have died and another person had to be hospitalised after apparently suffering from heat stroke in Khayelitsha.

The three were apparently waiting in a queue at a local mall yesterday when they collapsed amid the stifling heat.

The Weather Service expects a heatwave to persist over the West Coast, Overberg, and central Karoo today.

The provincial health department's Jo-Anne Otto has urged people to stay hydrated.

"If you're elderly or if you're looking after an elderly person and then a baby or children under three, it's vital that you make sure that they can access water and the fan if they're bedridden."

Meanwhile, this year will be the hottest on record and 2016 could be even hotter due to the El NiƱo weather pattern, the World Meteorological Organisation said last week, warning that inaction on climate change could see global average temperatures rise by 6 degrees Celsius or more.

WMO director-general Michel Jarraud said it was still possible for a global climate summit starting in Paris on Monday to agree steps to could keep the rise within 2C over pre-industrial times, a target set down in 2010 to try to prevent a dramatic increase in extreme weather.

"But the more we wait for action, the more difficult it will be," he told a news conference.

"You have scenarios assuming very strong decisions, very quick and sharp reduction of greenhouse gases, and you have other scenarios with business as usual, where you end up with predictions of additional warming of 5, 6 degrees, maybe even more. That will very much depend on the decisions (in Paris)."

Jarraud said there was no "silver bullet" to stop climate change. As well as a strong deal in Paris, it needed citizens to choose public transport over cars and insulate their homes, and industry to tackle sources of greenhouse gas emissions such as power stations, transport, cement, farming and fertilisers.

Jarraud rejected climate sceptics' arguments that the science underlying predictions of man-made climate change was flawed.

"It's not about believing or not," he said. "It's a matter of seeing the facts. The facts are there."

Paul Williams, climate scientist at the University of Reading, agreed: "All the thermometer readings, satellite observations, tree rings, ice cores and sea-level records would have to be wrong."