Beachgoers sit in the water at Alouette Lake to cool off during the scorching weather of a heatwave in Maple Ridge, British Columbia, Canada June 28, 2021 Photograph:( Reuters )
Usually, 165 sudden deaths would occur in the province over that period, the province’s chief coroner said. He further suggested that more than 300 deaths could be attributed to the heat. The new tally marks a 195 per cent increase over normal years.
At least 486 sudden deaths were reported in a time span of five days during British Columbia’s catastrophic heatwave.
Usually, 165 sudden deaths would occur in the Canadian province over that period, its chief coroner said. He further suggested that more than 300 deaths could be attributed to the heat. The new tally marks a 195 per cent increase over normal years.
#Canada just had a temperature of nearly 50°C (Lytton, 49.6°C)— World Meteorological Organization (@WMO) June 30, 2021
"Without human-induced climate change, it would have been almost impossible ...as the chances of natural occurrence is once every tens of thousands of years," says @metoffice scientist
Details https://t.co/fb1nIF8wny pic.twitter.com/rxKGmQqZZM
Chief coroner Lisa Lapointe, in a statement, said, "While it is too early to say with certainty how many of these deaths are heat-related, it is believed likely that the significant increase in deaths reported is attributable to the extreme weather BC has experienced and continues to impact many parts of our province".
Warning people about the hike in temperatures, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau expressed sympathy for the families of the deceased.
The town of Lytton, British Columbia reached 49.5C (121.1F) on Tuesday. Lytton was evacuated on Thursday night after a fire hit the town and threatened residential buildings.
Speaking about the wildfires, mayor Jan Polderman told CBC News, "It’s dire - the whole town is on fire. It’s bad, I’ve never seen anything like this".
Meanwhile, in Vancouver, schools were cancelled for extreme heat for the first time, while firefighters turned their hoses on anyone in need of cooling.
"We've never experienced anything like this heat in Vancouver," police Sergeant Steve Addison said, "and sadly dozens of people are dying as a result of it."