July heatwave causes 400 more deaths in Netherlands than average summer week

HAHUE, Aug 9 (XINHUA/APP):During the record-hot heatwave in the Netherlands in July this year, 400 more people died than in an average Dutch summer week, the Dutch Central Bureau of Statistics CBS announced on Friday.

The nationwide heat wave in the Netherlands occurred from July 22 to July 27, a short but intense one with higher temperatures than ever measured in the Netherlands. For the first time the temperature in Netherlands rose above 40 degrees Celsius, with a record of 40.7 in Gilze-Reijen in the province of North Brabant on July 25.

A total of 2,964 people died in the Netherlands during that week. Earlier research by the CBS showed that high temperatures are related to increased mortality.

The CBS compared the figures with two heatwaves in July 2006. With a length of 16 days, the second heat wave of 2006 was one of the longest and most intense in at least a hundred years. During those heat waves in 2006, nearly as many people died each week as in the heat week of 2019.

“Because there are now more elderly people, the additional mortality is relatively more limited now,” the CBS stated in a press release, adding “These days, the relation seems to be less strong. There is more awareness of what to do with a heatwave. For example, the heatwaves in July and August of 2018 have hardly led to extra mortality.”

This year the mortality during the heatwave is nevertheless higher again than in 2018. “It is possible that it has to do with a long cold period with flu in the spring of 2018, in which more people already died,” the CBS stated. “This was not the case in the spring of 2019. The temperature was also higher during the recent heat wave.”

The extra mortality occurred mainly to people aged 80 and older. In the week of the heat wave in 2019, 1,687 people aged 80 and older died, 300 people more than in an average summer week in the Netherlands.

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