Scorching temperatures are expected to blanket much of Cameroon until January 20, exceeding historical averages and posing risks to agriculture, health, and safety, the National Observatory on Climate Change (NOCC) warned in its latest Ten Day Climate Bulletin.
"Heatwave conditions are expected in many localities across the North, Far North, Centre, and East regions, with maximum temperatures reaching 35-37°C," the NOCC reported. "This period will likely be the hottest on record for this time of year in the past 45 years."
The heatwave is raising concerns for several sectors. In agriculture, the bulletin predicts "a scarcity of water resources for highly dependent crops in the Sudano-Sahelian and Guinean high savannah zones." Additionally, the intense heat could "degrade and destroy plantations by bush fires in the bimodal rainfall forest zone, and deteriorate the plant health of crops throughout the country, especially in the far South."
Human health is also at risk. The NOCC anticipates an increase in respiratory illnesses due to dust particles in the air, as well as meningitis cases in the Sudano-Sahelian zone due to the combination of heat, dust, and high winds. Conjunctivitis is also expected to rise in the Sudano-Sahelian and Guinean high savannah zones due to the increase in airborne dust.
Safety concerns are also mounting, with the NOCC warning of "a progressive risk of conflict between farmers and herders, and within herder groups, in the Far North and North regions over access to water resources and grazing land."