At least 17 people have died in Quebec because of the heat wave in eastern Canada since the end of last week, health officials said Wednesday. The number of deaths from the heat wave in Montreal is currently 12, said Montreal Regional Director of Public Health Mylène Drouin.
Five deaths have also been reported in the last 48 hours in the Eastern Townships, east of the Quebec metropolis, according to the newspaper La Tribune, citing the local health authorities.
“I’m very much in touch with the people of Quebec who have lost a loved one during the heat wave.These record temperatures should continue in central and eastern Canada, so be sure to protect yourself and your family.” tweeted on Wednesday Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
The victims in Montreal are part of the “very vulnerable populations, elderly people or people with chronic or mental illnesses” and do not have air conditioning, said Dr. Drouin, in an interview on public television Radio-Canada.
It was 34 degrees Celsius Wednesday in Montreal with a humidex factor that can exceed 40, according to data from the weather service of Environment Canada. The humidex is an index used in Canada that expresses the combined effect of heat and humidity in the air and therefore the level of heat felt by most people.
The temperature has regularly exceeded 30 degrees since last Friday in southern Quebec, with a humidex factor of up to 44 at the beginning of the week. Environment Canada’s “heat warning” is in effect for southern Quebec, but weather services predict a drop in mercury from Friday.
No deaths have yet been reported in the neighboring province of Ontario, which has also experienced very high temperatures. In 2010, a heat wave caused the death of a hundred people in the Montreal area.