Death Toll Rises To 17 From Heat Wave In Canada's Quebec

| July 5 , 2018 , 11:28 IST

Sweltering heat and humidity is considered to be a trademark of tropical nations, but has left its mark in Canada as well, leading to the death of at least 17 people in the eastern Canadian province of Quebec over the past few days, health officials said on Wednesday.

According to physician-manager at Montreal's public health authority Dr. David Kaiser, most of the heat exposure victims were aged between 50 and 80 years.

"None of the people we've identified in the last four days had air conditioning at home," Kaiser noted.

Dr. Melissa Genereux, the head of public health in the Eastern Townships, detailed that the deaths were not concentrated in any specific municipality. She also advised the public to be vigilant as two days of hot weather are predicted to be left.

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"There are still two days left of particularly hot weather with particularly high humidex levels," Dr. Genereux said.

"We're inviting the population to be vigilant for the next two days -- for themselves as well as those close to them," she added.

No deaths have been reported so far from any of the other provinces of Canada.

As per Dr Kaiser, one of the reasons that so many deaths were reported from Quebec was that it had health officials working with first responders to identify heat-related illnesses and deaths, while in other provinces the identification process may take months.

"We go out to the paramedics, we go out to the hospitals and we ask them to make sure to identify any deaths they believe are related to heat and that allows us to intervene more quickly," Kaiser said.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted condolences to the relatives of the Quebec victims, along with a link to guidelines on how to stay safe during a heatwave.

"My thoughts are with the loved ones of those who have died in Quebec during this heat wave. The record temperatures are expected to continue in central & eastern Canada, so make sure you know how to protect yourself & your family," tweeted Trudeau.