‘Over 60,000 heatwave deaths in Europe in record-breaking heat of 2022’

Commuters walk on London Bridge during the hot weather on June 17, 2022 in London, Britain.  - Reuters
Commuters walk on London Bridge during the hot weather on June 17, 2022 in London, Britain. – Reuters

The summer of 2022 was set to be Europe’s hottest ever, as an intense series of record-breaking heat, drought and wildfires caused more than 61,000 deaths, a study showed on Monday.

The European statistical office, Eurostat, had previously reported an unusually high death toll for those dates, yet the fraction of deaths attributable to the heat had not been determined.

Researchers from the Barcelona Institute for Global Health and France’s health research institute INSERM used the model to predict the number of deaths due to the temperature of each region in each week of the summer of 2022.

According to the study published in the journal Nature Medicine, they estimate that 61,672 deaths were linked to heat between May 30 and September 4 last year.

“It’s a huge number of deaths,” said Hicham Achebak, INSERM researcher and co-author of the study.

“We knew about the effect of heat on mortality after 2003, but from this analysis, we see that there is still much work to be done to protect populations,” he explained. AFP,

In 2003, more than 70,000 deaths were recorded during one of the worst heat waves in European history.

These data were used to estimate epidemiological models and predict temperature-attributable mortality for each region and week of the summer period.

The summer of 2022 was an unbearably hot season. Records show that every week during the summer period the temperature was warmer than average.

According to the research, the highest temperature anomalies were recorded during the hottest months, from mid-July to mid-August.

“According to the researchers, this combination increased the heat-related mortality rate, leading to 38,881 deaths between July 11 and August 14. Within that period of more than a month, an intense pan-European heatwave occurred between 18 and 24 July, causing a total of 11,637 deaths.

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