Since Monday, sudden deaths have increased in the Vancouver area. Two regional Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) police stations separately announced Tuesday, June 29, that at least 69 people have died suddenly in the cities of Burnaby and Surrey.
“We believe that the heat contributed to the majority of the deaths”, said a police statement, adding that most of the victims are elderly.
“This time can be fatal for vulnerable members of our community, especially the elderly and those with underlying health issues.”Burnaby RCMP spokesperson Mike Kalanj said urging the public to “Check if their relatives and neighbors are okay”.
A message immediately echoed by the Premier of British Columbia, John Horgan: “This is the hottest week British Columbians have ever known”, he said at a press conference. “And there are consequences to that, dire consequences for families and communities, but again, the way to get through this extraordinary time is to stick together, to check [l’état de santé] of people we know at risk, to make sure we have cold packs in the fridge. “
The duration of the heat episode worries
The Canadian metropolis on the Pacific coast has for several days recorded temperatures above 30 degrees Celsius, well above the normal of 21 degrees in this season.
An absolute heat record for all of Canada was broken Monday in Lytton, a village northeast of Vancouver, where the mercury soared to 47.9 degrees, and several towns in the interior of the province were still registering Tuesday. temperatures above 40 degrees.
“The duration of this heat wave is worrying because there is little respite at night (…). This record heat wave will increase the risk of heat-related illnesses ”, warned the Canadian Ministry of the Environment on its weather site.
In addition to British Columbia, heat wave warnings have also been issued for the eastern provinces of Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, as well as for parts of the Yukon and Northwest Territories to the north. from Canada.
The “heat dome” phenomenon
This heat wave, which caused several forest fires on both sides of the Canada-US border, is explained by a phenomenon called “Heat dome” : High pressures trap warm air in the area.
“Heat waves are becoming more frequent and intense as concentrations of greenhouse gases cause global temperatures to rise. They start earlier and end later and take a growing toll on human health and health systems ”, warned on Tuesday the world meteorological organization, based in Geneva.