Paris : 2022 heatwave killed over 61,000 in Europe. Yes, more than 61,000 people died due to the heat during Europe's record-breaking summer last year, a study said on Monday which called for more to be done to protect against even deadlier heatwaves expected in the coming years.

The world's fastest warming continent experienced its hottest summer on record in 2022, as countries were hit by blistering heatwaves, crop withering droughts and devastating wildfires.

The European Union's statistics agency Eurostat  had reported an unusually high number of excess deaths over the summer, but the amount directly linked to the heat had not been previously quantified.

A team of researchers looked at data on temperature and mortality from 2015 to 2022 for 823 regions across 35 European countries, covering a total of 543 million people.

The researchers from the Barcelona Institute for  Global Health and France's health research institute  INSERM  used models to predict the deaths attributable to temperature for each region in every week of of 2022's summer.

They estimated that 61,672 deaths were linked to the heat between May 30 and September 4 last year, according to the study published in the journal Natural Medicine.  

A particularly intense heatwave in the week of July 18-24 caused more than 11,600 deaths alone, the study said.

'' It's a very high number of deaths,'' said Hicham  Achebak, an INSERM researcher and study co-author.

'' We know the effects of heat on mortality after 2003, but with this analysis, we see that there is still a lot of work that needs to be done to protect the population,'' he told AFP.

More than 70,000 excess deaths were recorded in 2003 during one of the worst heatwaves in European history. [AFP]


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