| 22 May 2024, Wednesday |

US Pacific north-west heatwave killed almost 200 people

Death toll from the record-breaking heatwave that struck the US Pacific north-west rose to nearly 200, as health authorities reported 116 deaths in Oregon and 78 in Washington state.

In Oregon, most deaths were in Portland’s Multnomah county. Many people who died lacked air conditioning or fans.

Oregon governor Kate Brown, directed agencies to review how the state can improve its handling of heat emergencies.

Brown also enacted emergency regulations to protect workers from heat.

Richard Bann, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service’s Weather Prediction Center, was quoted by The Guardian saying, “The Pacific north-west got caught in a region where a series of feedbacks set up these very warm temperatures – no, hot temperatures – with very little cloud cover and very warm temperatures at night too”.

Meanwhile, humans are not the only ones affected by the deadly heat. British Columbia scientists, more than 1 billion marine animals along Canada’s Pacific coast are likely to have died from last week’s heatwave.

The heatwave is believed to have killed at least 500 people in Canada, however, it has also had an impact on marine life.

Christopher Harley, a marine biologist at the University of British Columbia, calculated that more than a billion marine animals may have been killed by the unusual heat. As per Harley, a walk along a Vancouver-area beach highlighted the magnitude of devastation brought on by the heatwave.

As per experts, the province needs to adapt to the reality that sudden and sustained heatwaves are likely to become more common. They attributed it to climate change.