Deaths linked to a heat wave in Canada's Quebec province has almost doubled to 33 from the last count, health officials said on Thursday, as extreme weather conditions that have gripped central and eastern Canada reached their peak.
Numerous victims were men over the age of 50 living alone in private apartments and seniors' residences, according to Dr. David Kaiser with Montreal's public health department.
"For the moment, they (deaths) conform exactly to the characteristics we've described - people with chronic illness, mental health problems, people living alone, people living in apartment blocks between four-to-six stories and without air conditioning". "Heat risk in an urban setting is a combination of medical, social and environmental exposures".
Environment Canada has lifted heat warnings for the affected regions, including Quebec, for the next several days.
According to the Ministry, numerous dead were over 65 years of age and had physical or mental health problems.
"Montreal is big heat island", he said, referring to an environmental phenomenon caused by a lack of vegetation and an abundance of concrete. Health authorities reported that the number of heat casualties increased to 50 people.
The remaining 16 deaths occurred in other parts of the French-speaking province.
A heat wave in Quebec has killed 33 people in the past week as high summer temperatures scorched eastern Canada.
Neighbouring Ontario has also been coping with high temperatures but no deaths have been reported there.
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