More than 130 sudden deaths reported in British Columbia amid historic heat wave

3 months ago 28
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(CNN)More than 130 sudden deaths have been reported in British Columbia in what Canadian authorities are calling "unprecedented casualties" amid a historic heat wave bringing all-time record temperatures to the region.

And the numbers keep climbing by the hour, officials said Tuesday.

Officers have responded to more than 65 sudden deaths since the heat wave began on Friday, Vancouver police said. "Today alone, officers had responded to 20 sudden deaths as of 1:45 p.m., with more than a dozen others waiting for police to be dispatched," the department said in a statement

    Heat-related deaths have depleted front-line resources and severely delayed response times, officials said.

      "We've never experienced anything like this heat in Vancouver," media relations Officer Sgt. Steve Addison said during a press conference.

      How to stay cool without air conditioning

      Royal Canadian Mounted Police have responded to 35 sudden deaths in nearby Surrey since Monday, media relations officer Cst. Sarbjit K. Sangha told CNN.

      "While the causes of death has not yet been determined in each of these cases, we can confirm that Surrey RCMP is responding to a higher than usual number of deaths since the beginning of the extreme weather conditions," Sangha said.

      In the city of Burnaby, police responded to more than 34 sudden death calls since Monday, with heat believed to be a contributing factor in the majority of the deaths, according to a release from RCMP.

      Extreme heat will be more frequent in the Pacific Northwest. Experts say it's not prepared.

      "We are seeing this weather can be deadly for vulnerable members of our community, especially the elderly and those with underlying health issues. It is imperative we check on one another during this extreme heat," Cpl. Mike Kalanj with Burnaby RCMP said.

      Many of the deceased have been senior citizens, RCMP said, and police are urging people to check on loved ones and neighbors as the heat wave bringing record-breaking temperatures to the region continues.

        The RCMP in Surrey is encouraging all residents, especially the elderly, to take precautions to protect themselves from heat injuries.

        Lytton, British Columbia, registered 117.5 degrees on Monday -- the highest temperature ever recorded in Canada, and around 48 degrees above what's normal for this time of year.

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