Deaths from extreme weather, particularly heatwaves, are increasing. According to a report from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, hospitalisations due to extreme weather have risen steadily over the past decade. From 2012 to 2022, over 9,000 people were admitted to hospitals, and there were 677 deaths from 2011 to 2021, with extreme heat being the main cause. The number of hospitalisations related to extreme weather events, such as heatwaves, bushfires, and storms, occurs at a rate of over 1,000 every three years. With the return of the El Niño weather pattern, experts are concerned that the number of deaths may rise as the number of extremely hot days increases. High temperatures have been linked to irritability, fatigue, and decreased performance, increasing the risk of accidents. Older people and those between 25 and 44 are the most affected groups, with men making up more hospitalisations than women. While heat is the leading cause of hospitalisation in most states and territories, extreme cold is also a concern, with deaths due to cold increasing gradually. Certain vulnerable population groups, such as children, people with disabilities, outdoor workers, and poorer individuals, are at higher risk. Rain and storms have also led to hospitalisations and deaths, particularly during flooding events in 2021/22. Australia needs to implement urban cooling strategies to protect its cities from extreme heat and to address the social and health issues associated with extreme weather.
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