Canadian heatwave: Montreal death toll rises to 12

(COLOMBO, LANKAPUVATH) –Six more people have died in Montreal’s heatwave, bringing to 12 the city’s total death toll from the extreme weather conditions that have gripped central and eastern Canada, health officials said on Wednesday.

Montreal previously raised the city’s response level to “intervention” from “alert” after a spike in heat-related calls to the government’s health information line and emergency services.

David Kaiser, a physician at Montreal’s public health department, said most of the victims lived alone and none had access to airconditioning.

Separately, five people died in Quebec’s Eastern Townships, which health officials said could be linked to heat.

Canadian Weather issued a heat warning for southern Quebec, which includes Montreal. The advisory was expected to be in place until Thursday. Heat warnings were also issued for much of Ontario, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.

Montreal reached a high of 34 degrees on Wednesday, a peak that is expected to continue on Thursday, before cooling to 24 degrees on Friday.

According to Canadian Weather’s advisory, the humidity index in southern Quebec will reach near 40 on Wednesday, but conditions will grow “even more uncomfortable” on Thursday, when it is forecast to reach 43. The index expresses how temperatures feel when incorporating the effect of humidity. A rating between 40 and 45 signals “great discomfort” and means people should avoid exertion. Anything above that indicates danger and that heat stroke is possible.

In a statement issued on Wednesday, Montreal’s emergency services said they have received more than 1,200 heat-related calls a day, which represents 30% more than their busiest days. Montrealers were urged not to dial 911 for non-urgent ailments.

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