On July 25 this year, the United Kingdom recorded its hottest day during a dangerous heatwave that swept the island nation.
Over 200 additional people died during that day as reported by official figures. This signifies the dire consequences of climate change.
The UK’s Office for National Statistics (ONS) reported that more people died on the 25th of July. This is more than any deaths recorded in the three months between July to September this year. Brits experienced a scorching temperature of 38.7C or 102F on that day.
On an average day in July, deaths are recorded at around 1,150-1,200 in the UK. But when temperatures rose to dangerous levels, the rate increased to 1,404.
Deaths were also at a higher-than-average rate the day after 25 July. By 26 July, a total of 1,331 people died. The figures suggest that the relatively short heatwave (compared to those in recent years) is the probable cause behind over 900 deaths.
Bob Ward of London School of Economics’ Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment told The Guardian:
“These figures probably understate the full picture. We expect the final figures from Public Health England in January to show that even more people died.”
The heatwave particularly affected the elderly and proved dangerous to those with pre-existing respiratory or cerebrovascular diseases.
“Every day that temperatures are above 28C is a threat to people with respiratory diseases,” Ward added.
These death rates emphasize the earth’s current state of climate emergency. “The comparatively high number of deaths occur mainly on days that are defined as heatwaves by Public Health England,” the ONS noted in its report.