Dozens of people have died in Canada amid an unprecedented heat wave that has smashed temperature records, according to a BBC report.
Police in the Vancouver area have responded to more than 130 sudden deaths since Friday. Most were elderly or had underlying health conditions. They said the heat was a contributing factor in many cases.
More than 230 deaths have been reported in Canada’s British Columbia province since Friday as a heat wave brought record-high temperatures, CNN reported.
"Since the onset of the heat wave late last week, the BC Coroners Service has experienced a significant increase in deaths reported where it is suspected that extreme heat has been contributory," Chief Coroner Lisa Lapointe said in a statement.
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The coroner's service normally receives about 130 death reports over a four-day period. From Friday through Monday, at least 233 deaths were reported, the chief coroner said, adding "this number will increase as data continues to be updated."
According to a BBC report, Canada on Tuesday recorded its highest ever temperature for a third straight day – 49.5C (121F) in Lytton, British Columbia. Before this week, temperatures in the country had never passed 45C. the heatwave is due to a dome of high pressure hovering over the north-western US and Canada.
Experts say climate change is expected to increase the frequency of extreme weather events, such as heatwaves. However, linking any single event to global warming is complicated.
The heat is believed to have been a contributing factor in the deaths of 65 people in the city of Vancouver, police say.
The suburb of Burnaby, meanwhile, reported at least 34 sudden deaths and the Surrey area recorded 38.
"Vancouver has never experienced heat like this, and sadly dozens of people are dying because of it," police sergeant Steve Addison said.
"Our officers are stretched thin, but we're still doing everything we can to keep people safe," he said, before adding that daily sudden death calls in the city had more than trebled.
Heat-related deaths have depleted front-line resources and severely delayed response times, officials said.