May 19, 2019

Canada heat wave death toll hits 54

08 July 2018, 12:17 | Edward Lowe

People cool down in a public pool in Montreal Thursday

People cool down in a public pool in Montreal Thursday

Deaths linked to a heat wave in Canada's Quebec province has almost doubled to 33 from the last count, health officials said on Thursday, as extreme weather conditions that have gripped central and eastern Canada reached their peak.

Eighteen of those deaths have come in Montreal, where humid temperatures climbed past 43 degrees Celsius (110 degrees Fahrenheit).

Numerous victims were men over the age of 50 living alone in private apartments and seniors' residences, according to David Kaiser of Montreal's public health department.

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Health officials in Quebec this week urged people to drink plenty of water, reduce physical activity, seek out air conditioning, and stay in the shade.

"It's not surprising", he said. Signs of heat illness could include cramps and rashes, and among the people with the highest risk of suffering are generally older adults, young children, the homeless and people with chronic illnesses. There also micro heat islands throughout the city, particularly in some of the poorer areas, he added.

The heat-related death toll continues to rise across Quebec as Environment Canada issues a smog and heat warning for today. Numerous victims suffered from chronic health issues or mental illnesses and lived in areas known as 'heat island, ' - regions prone to higher temperatures due to a lack of vegetation.

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The other victims were reported in the southwest of the French-Canadian province.

No deaths have been reported for the same period in the province of Ontario.

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