Experts alarmed over sweltering heatwave in UK
Cyclists ride over the Hammersmith Bridge on July 17, 2021 in Hammersmith, England. The bridge was closed last year after cracks in the bridge worsened during a heatwave. (Photo by Hollie Adams/Getty Images)
ENGLAND is in the middle of a “natural disaster” that may spark hundreds of deaths due to the extreme heatwave in UK, a climate expert has warned. Meanwhile, a heatwave health alert issued by Public Health England (PHE) has been extended to Friday (23) as the country continues to swelter under high temperatures.
Tuesday (20) was reported as the hottest day of the year so far as the temperature reached 32.2 C.
London School of Economics climate scientist Bob Ward has warned of further deaths this year saying that heatwaves have become more frequent amid global warming.
Claiming that he has written to prime minister Boris Johnson, the climate scientist said that the country is not properly prepared for growing risks from hot weather and a national heat risk strategy is needed.
“We are in the middle of a natural disaster with hundreds of people dying across England and Wales,” Mirror quoted Ward in a report. “Most of those who are dying are elderly or have underlying respiratory illnesses, living in houses and care homes that are prone to overheating.”
“Many of these deaths could have been prevented if the government had implemented a national heat risk strategy.”
Calling for better health plans and heat-safe buildings, Prof Hannah Cloke from the University of Reading also claimed that heat really is a silent killer and heatwaves “creep into people’s homes and kill them”.
Experts’ warning came amid an amber extreme heat warning which has been extended to last until Friday (23), with the mercury expected to climb as high as 33C in some parts of the country.
“Everybody can be affected by high temperatures and most people are aware of good health advice for coping with hot weather,” said Dr Owen Landeg at PHE. “However, it’s important to keep checking on those who are most vulnerable such as older people and those with heart or lung conditions.”
PHE has advised Britons to stay cool indoors, drink plenty of water and avoid excess alcohol, and walk in the shade, use sunscreen and wear a wide-brimmed hat if you have to go out.
It is understood two people have died from a heart attack and “heat stroke” due to the extreme weather, while drowning has claimed eight lives this summer across the country.