15,000 people died from hot weather in Europe in 2022: WHO

(ORDO NEWS) — At least 15,000 people have died from hot weather in Europe this year, Hans Henri Kluge, WHO regional director for Europe, said on Monday.

“Based on the country data provided so far, it is estimated that in 2022 at least 15,000 people will die precisely because of the heat.

Among them, almost 4,000 deaths in Spain, more than 1,000 in Portugal, more than 3,200 in UK and about 4,500 deaths in Germany reported by health authorities over the 3 months of summer,” Kluge said in a statement.

The WHO Regional Representative said the estimate is expected to rise as more countries report excess heat-related deaths.

“For example, the French National Institute of Statistics and Economic Research (INSEE) reported that more than 11,000 more people died between June 1 and August 22, 2022 compared to the same period in 2019, the last year before the COVID-19 pandemic.

INSEE suggested that these numbers “are most likely due to a heat wave that hit in mid-July, after an initial heat wave episode back in mid-June,” he added.

Temperatures in Europe warmed significantly over the period 1961-2021, averaging about 0.5°C per decade.

“This is the fastest growing region, according to a report released this week by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). Extreme temperatures have killed more than 148,000 people in the European Region over the past 50 years. In just 1 year since then, we have lost at least 15 more 000 lives,” he said.

“In 2021, high-impact weather and climate events caused hundreds of deaths and directly affected more than half a million people. About 84 percent of these events were floods or storms,” he added.

These health effects that people in our region are now experiencing with a 1.1°C rise in global mean temperatures only give an idea of ​​what we can expect if temperatures rise by 2°C or more above pre-industrial levels. This should be a wake up call for our future in a changing climate.

It comes as representatives and negotiators from around the world gather in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, for the 2022 UN Climate Change Conference (COP27) to urgently build on previous agreements to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

Climate change and the crises it causes have long been clear public health emergencies. WHO and partners have long sounded the alarm, but action has been dangerously inconsistent and too slow.

Just last summer, the WHO European Region experienced heatwaves, droughts and wildfires that affected people’s health. The region has just experienced its hottest summer and hottest August on record, according to the European Union Climate Change Service Copernicus.

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