Canadians pack into cooling centers as heat wave death toll doubles

The Hillcrest Community Centre welcomes people with a welcoming sign at its door. This is where they can cool down during extreme heat in Vancouver, British Columbia.On Wednesday, people sat quietly in one of Vancouver's 25 cooling centers and read or used their laptops to keep cool during the record-breaking heat wave.Lou said that she had experienced heat waves in the past, but not as severe as this one. She gave only her first name. "I am shocked at how many deaths there have bee.""I don't have air conditioning. I only have a fan at my home. I came here to work in the cool."Canada's westmost province was scorched by record-breaking heat for days. It reached 49.5 Celsius (121 Fahrenheit) in Lytton on Tuesday. This is three hours northeast from Vancouver.Residents have been killed by heat, according to police. The death toll is increasing "by the hour," they said Tuesday. Meteorologists warn of more extreme temperatures.Tara Moriarty's mother-in-law, an infectious diseases expert, was among those who were mourned. She said that the otherwise healthy senior was afraid of seeking relief from the heat as she had only been half-vaccinated against Covid-19.Moriarty tweeted, "It is quite devastating." "My partner's mom, who was healthy, died from heatstroke in British Columbia (Sunday).To cool off in the extremely hot Vancouver weather, a person enters Hillcrest Community Centre.Heat stroke can be deadly quickly. You should check on your family members, neighbors, and friends who are afraid to seek cooler areas (because of) Covid every few hours when it gets really hot.British Columbia Coroners Service reported 486 sudden deaths between Friday and Wednesday. This compares with 165 normally. Vancouver police stated that calls for assistance overwhelmed emergency telephone lines.The coroner's office stated in a statement that while it is not possible to know with certainty how many deaths were caused by heat, it is likely that the substantial increase in deaths reported is due to the extreme weather British Columbia has endured and continues to affect many parts of the province."Numbers that are 'alarming'Police Sergeant Steve Addison stated that they have never seen anything like the heat in Vancouver and that it is causing a lot of deaths.An ambulance is seen in extreme heat conditions in Vancouver, British Columbia Canada.Vancouver cancelled schools in extreme heat for the first-ever time. Meanwhile, firefighters used their hoses to cool anyone who needed it.Ashley Vaughan, walking along with her children Wednesday as the temperatures started to cool, said that "It's been really hot in our home, so we have really had to depend on friends to give fans to us," "My children have been miserable, there was a lot crying because it was so heat," she said.According to meteorologists, extreme weather is caused by an extreme heat dome over the Pacific Northwest. This is a common summer phenomenon but never so hot.Terri Lang, Environment Canada meteorologist, stated to AFP that this particular event was in line with climate change science: intense heat waves of longer duration and more extreme heat earlier in the season."People in meteorological communities, weather forecasters and climatologists are all looking at these numbers with concern. They are alarming."Map showing the forecast temperatures for July 1, 2021.Peter Lohuaro (70) was forced to quit cycling due to dangerously high ground-level levels of ozone. He said that the heat wave helped his joints.Lohuaro said that it was unprecedented to travel to places like Death Valley (in California), and this was even hotter." Lohuaro spoke at AFP's city cooling center."People who live in apartments that are not air-conditioned or face south had to rent rooms at hotels or suffer real hardship."2021 AFP