Climate, WHO Europe: “At least 15 thousand dead from the heat in 2022”

World Health Organization regional director Hans Kluge: “We need strong action”

In Europe “it is estimated that at least 15,000 people died from the heat in 2022including almost 4 thousand in Spain, over a thousand in Portugal, more than 3,200 in the United Kingdom and about 4,500 in Germany, according to reports from the national health authorities during the three months of the summer “. It means that”climate change is already killing us“, warns the regional director of the World Health Organization, Hans Kluge, who asks the participants of the United Nations Conference on Climate Change (COP27) underway in Sharm-Sharm el-Sheikh in Egypt” strong measures to prevent further deaths ” Because so far, he notes, “although the WHO and its partners have long sounded the alarm, the action has been dangerously incoherent and too slow”.

“In the WHO European region – the director analyzes – just last summer we witnessed an escalation of heat waves, droughts and fires”, events that “have all had an impact on the health of our populations”. After what for the EU Copernicus report on climate change was “the hottest summer ever recorded”, with “the hottest August”, Kluge explains that “heat stress is the leading cause of death related to weather conditions in the European region “. But” extreme temperatures can also exacerbate chronic diseases such as cardiovascular, respiratory and cerebrovascular diseases, or conditions related to diabetes. ”

“In Europe – continues the head of the WHO Regional Office – between 1961 and 2021 temperatures increased significantly, at the rate of about 0.5 degrees C per decade. We are the region with the fastest warming, according to a report. launched this week by the World Meteorological Organization (WHO). Extreme temperatures have claimed over 148,000 lives in the European region over the past 50 years, in one year alone we have lost at least another 15,000 lives “and” this estimate is expected to increase “further,” as more countries report an excess of deaths caused by the heat “. (continues)