The death toll of Europe’s heat wave
Thousands more people died than would normally have been expected as a heat wave gripped Europe’s south this summer, according to preliminary data.
Across the Mediterranean, people were brought low by heat of an intensity and duration that is becoming increasingly familiar as the region warms due to climate change.
The peaks in temperature that occurred in June, and then from the last week of July until the middle of August, coincided with a jump in the number of deaths registered in countries in the region compared with the average of the last five years, according to data collated by Eurostat.
Greece recorded over 2,300 excess deaths — excluding registered deaths from coronavirus — between late July and mid-August compared with the last five years. Around 1,400 excess deaths were in the first week of August alone.
Other parts of the Mediterranean basin saw a similarly alarming trend. Mortality in France peaked in mid-August, with around 1,500 more deaths than the 2016-2020 average over the course of two weeks.