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‘Silent killer’: more than half of heatwave deaths are in disadvantaged areas

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By illuminem briefings

· 2 min read

illuminem summarizes for you the essential news of the day. Read the full piece on The Guardian or enjoy below:

🗞️ Driving the news: Extreme heat in Australia is proving to be a deadly force, with over half of the heatwave-related deaths occurring in the country's most disadvantaged areas
• As Australia braces for a hot and dry summer, local councils are taking action to protect the most vulnerable members of the community, including outdoor workers, the elderly, and those with pre-existing conditions

🔭 The context: The City of Melbourne has appointed "chief heat officers" to raise awareness about the dangers of extreme heat and to promote services that help people cool down, such as cool rooms in libraries and community spaces
• In Greater Geelong, a pilot project is underway to create "climate safe rooms" inside the homes of low-income households, featuring insulation, air conditioning, and solar panels to offset costs

🌍 Why it matters for the planet: Extreme heat not only poses a significant threat to human life but also exacerbates existing inequalities
• Disadvantaged areas, which often lack adequate tree cover, access to cool spaces, and the financial means to run air conditioning, are disproportionately affected
• Addressing these issues is crucial for building resilient communities and ensuring equitable access to resources that can mitigate the impact of heatwaves

⏭️ What's next: Australian councils are working on both short-term and long-term solutions to combat the deadly effects of extreme heat
• This includes increasing shade and tree cover, retrofitting old buildings, and implementing new housing planning standards

💬 One quote: “Extreme heat is a silent killer. That’s not really understood by the community because of the lack of visual cues.” ( Krista Milne, a chief heat officer at the City of Melbourne.)

📈 One stat: More than 69% of heatwave deaths between 2001 and 2018 were among those over the age of 60, highlighting the vulnerability of the elderly population to extreme heat

Click for more news covering the latest on climate change

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