700 fatalities due to summer heatwaves

It seems a long time ago, but last summer, when temperatures soared, Belgium experienced three heatwaves in as many months. The Belgian health institute Sciensano counted the number of “extra” deaths and now says that during the heatwave in July 400 more people died than is usual.

During the first heatwave in June temperatures soared to above 35°C, while ozone concentrations rose above 198 micrograms per cubic meter.  During this heatwave deaths were up 4%.

In July temperatures rose above 40°C with ozone concentrations topping 240 micrograms per cubic meter.  A staggering 400 extra deaths were recorded, especially among over 85’s. Fatalities were up 35% in Brussels but only 17% in Belgium as a whole. Scientists point to the higher temperatures in cities where heat is locked in by concrete, asphalt and stone.

During the last heatwave in August fatalities were up 10%.