People rest at the Oregon Convention Center cooling station on June 28, 2021 in Portland, Oregon, as heatwaves move through much of the United States.
Catherine Elsesser | AFP | Getty Images
The historic heat wave that scorched a large part of the Pacific Northwest and caused record high temperatures in Canada has been attributed this week to hundreds of deaths in Oregon, Washington and Vancouver, British Columbia.
Oregon’s state medical examiner’s office said the sweltering heat in the state since Friday has killed at least 63 people, 45 of which were reported in Multnomah County, which also includes Portland. Temperatures in the region reached a record high of 116 degrees Fahrenheit.
Mulnoma County Health Officer Dr. Jennifer Wines said the initial cause of death was hyperthermia, an abnormally high body temperature caused by the body’s inability to deal with heat. Many of the dead were found alone and without air conditioning.
“This was a true health crisis that has underscored how deadly an extreme heat wave can be, especially for vulnerable people,” Vine said in a statement.
“I know many county residents were looking out for each other and am deeply saddened by this early death,” Vine said. “As our summers continue to warm up, I doubt we’ll encounter something like this again.”
Shanton Alcarz of the Salvation Army Northwest Division delivers bottled water to Eddie Norby who lives in an RV and invites him to his nearest cooling center for food and beverages during a heat wave in Seattle, Washington, US, June 27, 2021 We do.
Karen Ducey | Acesparks
British Columbia’s chief coroner Lisa LaPointe said there had been at least 486 sudden deaths between Friday and Wednesday and the number was set to rise. The number of deaths represents an increase of 195% compared to the approximately 165 deaths that typically occur over a period of five days in the province.
“While it is too early to say with certainty how many of these deaths are heat-related, it is believed that the significant increase in reported deaths is due to BC’s extreme weather,” Lapointe said in a statement.
In Washington’s King County, which includes Seattle, about a dozen people died from heat on Wednesday, according to the medical examiner’s office. there were two people found dead At his apartment on Tuesday in Spokane, Washington due to apparent heat-related stress.
“We can’t just turn on the ACs; we have to change the level of effort to fight the underlying causes of climate change in our changing world — our changing world,” Jay Inslee of Washington Gov.
“Our recent trouble is the tip of a melting iceberg,” Inslee wrote. “What we realized this week is just the initial act in an impending global disaster.”
Human-caused climate change is causing more frequent and severe heat waves in the US, with higher temperatures this week as the West grapples with the worst drought conditions in the past two decades.
Isis Givens-Gutierrez, 9, cools down during a heat wave at Georgetown Playfield Splash Park in Seattle, Washington, US, June 26, 2021.
Karen Ducey | Acesparks
Recent research found that More than a third of global heat-related deaths This can be attributed to climate change during the warm season. In the US, heat kills more people than any other weather disaster.
During heat waves, the low nighttime temperatures that could provide respite from hot daytime temperatures are also disappearing as the earth warms, endangering people who don’t have air conditioning in their homes. is.
US President Joe Biden holds a briefing on wildfires with cabinet members, government officials, as well as governors of several western states, including Oregon Governor Kate Brown (on screen), at the Eisenhower Executive Office building in Washington, DC. June 30, 2021.
Saul Loeb | AFP | Getty Images
Climate change has led to a dangerous combination of extreme heat and persistent drought, President Joe Biden said in a meeting with Western governors on Wednesday and that the US is far behind in developing ways to combat wildfires.
“We have to act now, and act fast,” the president said during the meeting, which was attended by the governors of Oregon, California, New Mexico, Nevada, Washington, Colorado, Utah and Wyoming. “The truth is we are playing catch up.”
Earth has already warmed by more than 1 degree Celsius compared to pre-industrial levels, According to the World Meteorological Organization. Scientists have consistently urged for an immediate reduction in greenhouse gas emissions to avoid the worst consequences of global warming.