WHO estimates at least 15,000 Europeans killed by summer heat

Germany Heat Wave
A woman walks past a fountain on a hot summer day in Berlin, Germany, Sunday, June 19, 2022. People flocked to parks and pools across Western Europe on Saturday for a bit of respite from an early heat wave. In Germany, where highs of 38 C (100.4 F) were expected, the health minister urged vulnerable groups to stay hydrated. Markus Schreiber/AP

WHO estimates at least 15,000 Europeans killed by summer heat

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The World Health Organization estimated that at least 15,000 Europeans have died as a result of record heat so far this year.

The estimate was put forward in a statement by WHO Regional Director for Europe Dr. Hans Henri Kluge amid the 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt. It noted that the past summer was the hottest in Europe on record, according to the European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Service, resulting in massive infrastructure damage and a likewise record number of deaths.


“Based on country data submitted so far, it is estimated that at least 15,000 people died specifically due to the heat in 2022. Among those, nearly 4,000 deaths in Spain, more than 1,000 in Portugal, more than 3,200 in the United Kingdom, and around 4,500 deaths in Germany were reported by health authorities during the 3 months of summer,” the statement read.

“This estimate is expected to increase as more countries report on excess deaths due to heat. For example, France’s National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies (INSEE) reported that more than 11,000 more people died between 1 June and 22 August 2022 compared with the same period in 2019 — the last year before the COVID-19 pandemic,” the statement added. “INSEE suggested that these figures were ‘likely to be explained by the heatwave that occurred in mid-July, after an initial heatwave episode as early as mid-June.’


From 1961-2021, Europe lost a total of nearly 150,000 people due to extreme temperatures. In just the summer of 2022, the region has lost one-tenth of that due to heat alone. The statement urged European governments to adapt their health systems for worse years to come.

Kluge urged governments to do more to address climate change, including adopting a more sustainable model of consumption and production. In the shorter term, he urged governments to adopt health plans meant to address extreme summer heat, which is expected to increase further in the coming years.

© 2022 Washington Examiner

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