Extreme heat should be labelled a natural disaster, new report urges

·1 min read

OTTAWA — A new report says governments should consider extreme heat events to be natural disasters as climate change raises the risk of soaring summer temperatures in most of Canada's biggest cities.

The Intact Centre on Climate Adaptation at the University of Waterloo urges Canadians to take the threat of intense heat more seriously.

It warns more than 17 million people live in urban areas most at risk of extreme heat issues in the decades to come.

The report says heat doesn't cause the same wide-scale property damage as floods and fires but poses a greater risk to human health.

Nearly 600 people died in British Columbia during the heat wave last June and July.

Report author Joanna Eyquem says people and governments can ease heat wave effects with more urban green space, backup power sources to keep cooling equipment working during power surges, and better heat-related emergency planning.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 19, 2022.

The Canadian Press

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