Heat waves: at least 15,000 deaths in Europe due to heat waves in 2022 according to the WHO

The summer of 2022 was the hottest on record in Europe. A record that is not without consequences. At least 15,000 deaths on the Old Continent are directly linked to the severe heat waves that occurred during this period, according to a still incomplete estimate published Monday, November 7 by the World Health Organization (WHO) on the occasion of COP27 on the climate.

This toll, which includes 4,500 dead in Germany, nearly 4,000 in Spain, more than 3,200 in the United Kingdom and a thousand in Portugal, “expected to increase, with several countries reporting excess heat-related deaths”, specify the director of the European branch of the WHO, Hans Kluge, in a press release. According to WHO data, extreme temperatures have been responsible for 148,000 deaths in Europe over the past 50 years. With 15,000 deaths and arguably more in a single year, 2022 alone would account for more than 10% of that total.

With regard to France, the WHO specifies that the French Institute of Statistics, Insee, recorded an excess mortality of 11,000 people during the summer of 2022 compared to the summer of 2019 preceding the Covid pandemic. For the institute, this can “most likely” explained by the very high temperatures recorded in June and July in particular. However, the numbers from INSEE do not allow a separate count of the causes of death.

According to a UN report published last week, the European continent is the fastest warming continent, recording a rise in temperatures more than twice the global average over the past thirty years.

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