A searing heatwave that settled over western Canada for several days has been blamed for helping to cause the deaths of dozens of people in the Vancouver area.
With a new record temperature for Kanada of 47.9C (118F) set on Monday, police in the Burnaby area of Vancouver said they responded to 25 sudden-death calls in a 24-hour period starting on Monday.
The deaths were still under investigation and many of the deceased were seniors, Cpl Mike Kalanj of Burnaby Royal Canadian Mounted police said.
Temperatures in the Vancouver area reached just under 32C (90F) (32 Celsius) Monday, but the humidity made it feel close to 40C (104F) in areas that were not near water, Environment Canada said.
The record-breaking heatwave could ease over parts of British Columbia, Yukon and the Northwest Territories by Wednesday, but any reprieve for the prairie provinces was further off, forecasters said.
In Vancouver, the police department said it had redeployed dozens of officers and asked the public to call 911 only for emergencies because heat-related deaths had depleted front-line resources and delayed response times.
“Vancouver has never experienced heat like this, and sadly dozens of people are dying because of it,” Sgt Steve Addison said in a news release. “Our officers are stretched thin, but we’re still doing everything we can to keep people safe.”
On Tuesday afternoon, hy het gesê, police had responded to more than 65 sudden deaths since the heatwave that has spread across the pacific north-west of the Americas began on Friday.
“The vast majority of these cases are related to the heat,” Addison said.
In a typical four-day period in British Columbia, there would be around 130 deaths reported but between Friday and Monday the total was 233, CBC reported.
Ingrid Jarrett, chief executive of the British Columbia Hotel Association, said residents in parts of the Lower Mainland, Victoria and the Okanagan regions had been booking air-conditioned rooms so they can continue working and also get some sleep.
Environment Canada said the weather system shattered 103 heat records across British Columbia, Alberta, Yukon and Northwest Territories on Monday. Those records include the new Canadian high temperature of 47.9C at Lytton, British Columbia, smashing the previous record set in the same village a day earlier.