The intense heat wave that hit the Pacific Northwest of the US and Canada over the past week has killed at least 95 people in Oregon alone, the state governor said Sunday, calling the death toll “absolutely unacceptable. “.
Hundreds of people are believed to have died from the heat in the northwestern United States and southwestern Canada. US temperature records included 116F (47C) in Portland and 108F (42C) in Seattle. On Sunday, warm weather headed east, with temperatures well above the 100 ° F (38 ° C) forecast for parts of Idaho and Montana.
Oregon officials warned people about the heat, dispersed water to vulnerable people and set up cooling stations, Brown said.
“We have been working to prepare for climate change in this state for several years,” added the Democrat. “What was unprecedented, of course, was the unprecedented three days of heat, and it was horrible to see more than 90 Oregonians lose their lives.
“We have to continue our preparatory work. That includes working with our healthcare partners who provide healthcare to vulnerable Oregon residents to make sure they understand that resources are available.
“We worked very hard with our community partners to get the message that the heat was going to be very, very strong. Over the past weekend, they set up cooling centers and provided water to vulnerable Oregonians. Unfortunately, we still lost too many lives. “
Scientists consider the heat wave to be compatible with the effects of man-made climate change. Brown said his administration would review preparations for those new realities.
“I think the concern is that this is a harbinger of things to come,” he said. “We have literally had four declarations of emergency in this state at the federal level since April 2020. During Labor Day last year, we had horrible wildfires. They were historical. We lost more than a million acres, more than 4,000 homes and nine lives.
“And what is really, really clear, as we saw it during the pandemic, throughout these emergency events, our communities of color, our low-income families are disproportionately affected. We have to focus the voices of black, brown and indigenous people at the forefront of our work as we prepare for emergencies. “
When asked what the federal government should do to help, Brown said: “Bottom line, we need resources and we need boots on the ground.
“We need financial resources to be able to buy essential and critical equipment, such as airplanes, to help us fight fires … [and] so we can train our National Guard men and women ahead of time so they can support our firefighting efforts.
“But it also means that agencies like [the Federal Emergency Management Agency] who do not help our undocumented families, we must make sure that happens.
“Of the families who lost their homes in southern Oregon in the last Labor Day fire, several hundred were undocumented. Fema does not provide help or assistance to these families.
“It is absolutely unacceptable. These families are such an important part of our communities. They are the heart and soul of our culture and they are the backbone of our economy. They deserve the help and they need it. “
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism