AROUND 294 DEATHS in Ireland are believed to have been caused by seven heatwaves over the past 30 years.
A DIT study published by that EPA shows that past heatwaves resulted in increased deaths, illness and hospitalisations.
The majority of these deaths, 241 occurred in rural areas with 53 occurring in urban areas, specifically Dublin, Cork, Drogheda, Arklow, Dundalk, Galway, Limerick and Waterford.
“Researchers found that there were seven heatwaves during the study period and that these were associated with approximately 294 greater than expected deaths,” explained Dara Lynott, EPA Deputy Director General.
The changing Irish climate will mean that there will be more heatwaves in the future, and this combined with the ageing population may result in more heat-related deaths.
“More people die when temperatures are at either extreme, namely during cold weather and during very hot weather,” Professor Pat Goodman said. “More severe heatwaves may result in a significant excess mortality.”
To prevent such deaths, the study recommends putting in place warning messages for those most affected in the case of future heatwaves.