Heatwave caused 200 additional deaths in 2018

Staying out of the sun by the River Rhône in Geneva on August 5, 2018 Keystone

Last August 200 more people than usual died in Switzerland. The Federal Office for the Environment attributes the 3.4% increase in deaths to a ten-day heatwave. 

This content was published on October 24, 2019 - 11:13

“The dry and hot weather had negative effects on people’s health, forests, bodies of water, glaciers and agriculture,” it said in a statement on Thursday. 

As in 2003 and 2015, numerous heat-related deaths were recorded in 2018, according to the analysis. While in 2003 from June to August about 1,000 more people died than usual (+6.9%), in 2015 there were an estimated 800 additional deaths (+5.4%). 

There were regional differences last year, the office noted. In western and southern cantons, the mortality rate remained the same during the heatwave. However, in eastern Switzerland and the greater Zurich area the number of deaths increased – “regions where there were no action plans for dealing with the heat”, the office pointed out. 

This is a “plausible indication that heat-related mortality can be reduced with targeted measures and coordinated heat plans”. It said this included information campaigns and reminding people to drink more fluids and to stay indoors.

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