Wednesday, May 25

Canada Records Dozens of Sudden Deaths in Two Days Under Historic Heat Wave


At least 69 people have died suddenly since Monday, according to Canadian police data, as cities open cooling centers and cancel vaccination campaigns.

A man uses a fountain to cool off in Vancouver.
A man uses a fountain to cool off in Vancouver.JENNIFER GAUTHIERREUTERS
  • Weather A “historic” heat wave suffocates Canada and the northwestern United States

Several dozen people died suddenly between Monday and Tuesday in the area of Vancouverdeaths that are likely related to the heat wave hitting western Canada and parts of the northwestern United States, Canadian federal police announced Tuesday.

Two offices of the Royal Mounted Police of Canada (RPMC) in the Vancouver region have announced that at least 69 people have died suddenly since Monday, when the heat wave reached its peak temperatures. “We believe that the heat contributed to most of the deaths”said a police statement, adding that most of the victims are elderly.

“This time can be deadly for vulnerable members of our community, especially the elderly and those with underlying health problems,” said a Burnaby RMPC spokesman, Mike Kalanj, urging people to “check on their loved ones and neighbors”.

A message that was immediately echoed by the Prime Minister of the province of British Columbia, John Horgan: “This is the hottest week that the inhabitants of this region have lived,” he said at a press conference. “And that has consequences, disastrous consequences for families and communities, but again, the way to get through this extraordinary moment is to stay together, check (the health status) of the people we know are at risk, make sure we we have cold compresses in the fridge, “he added.

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Vancouver, located on the Pacific coast, has been registering temperatures above 30 degrees Celsius for several days, well above the 21 degrees that on average there are at this time. The record for the highest recorded temperature in Canada was broken on Monday. It was in the town of Lytton, northeast of Vancouver, that the mercury marc 47.9 degrees.

“Worrying” heat wave

“The duration of this heat wave is worrying, since there is hardly any respite at night (…). This heat wave record increased the risk of heat-related illnesses,” warned the Canadian Ministry of the Environment in its weather website.

In addition to Columbia Britnica, advisories have also been issued for the easternmost provinces of Alberta, Saskatchewan Y Manitobaas well as parts of the Yukon and Northwest Territories in northern Canada.

Air conditioners and fans are in short supply in the region. Cities have opened refrigeration centers, in addition to canceling vaccination campaigns against covid-19 and closing schools.

The heat wave also affected American cities south of Vancouver earlier this week, such as Portland (Oregn) y Seattle (Washington), also known for its temperate and humid climate, where the temperature reached its all-time high since records began in 1940. On Monday afternoon it was 46.1 degrees Celsius at the Portland airport and 41.6 at the Seattle airport, according to readings by the United States Weather Service (NWS).

The heat wave, which has sparked multiple wildfires on both sides of the U.S.-Canadian border, is due to a phenomenon known as “heat dome,” in which high pressures trap hot air in the region. “Heat waves are becoming more frequent and intense as concentrations of greenhouse gases cause global temperatures to rise. They start earlier and end later, taking an increasing toll on human health and health. in health systems, “the Geneva-based World Meteorological Organization warned on Tuesday.

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