Climate crisis: WHO: At least 15,000 heat deaths in Europe this year

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), at least 15,000 people have died from the heat in Europe this year, including thousands in Germany.

Climate crisis: WHO: At least 15,000 heat deaths in Europe this year

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), at least 15,000 people have died from the heat in Europe this year, including thousands in Germany.

The region has just experienced the hottest summer and the hottest August since weather records began, said WHO Regional Director Hans Kluge on Monday evening at the COP27 World Climate Conference that began in Egypt. In general, there was an escalation of heat waves, droughts and forest fires in Europe this summer - all of which had health effects on the population.

Around 4500 deaths in Germany

Heat stress - the condition when the body cannot cool itself - is the main cause of weather-related deaths in the WHO Europe region, explained Kluge. According to data reported so far from Member States, at least 15,000 people are estimated to have died explicitly from this year's heat. Among them were around 4,500 deaths in Germany, almost 4,000 in Spain, more than 1,000 in Portugal and over 3,200 in Great Britain. The estimated total is likely to increase as more countries report their excessive heat deaths, Kluge said.

The WHO Europe region includes more than 50 countries, including many east of the EU such as Russia, Ukraine and Turkey.

Extreme temperatures have been responsible for more than 148,000 deaths in the region over the past 50 years, explained Kluge. In the coming decades, increasing vulnerability to heat waves and other extreme weather events will result in more illness and deaths until countries take truly drastic action to combat climate change. "It cannot be said often enough: we must fight climate change effectively together," explained Kluge.

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