Jun 21, 2022
The start of summer today brings warnings of deadly extreme heat. It claims some 1,500 lives a year. Half of them are homeless people, advocates say. Climate change has led to more heat waves. The heat waves have become more intense, frequent, and last longer.
In the US, extreme heat causes more weather-related deaths than hurricanes, flooding, and tornadoes combined. Millions in the US face dangerous, triple-digit heat this week. And the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicts a hot summer. NOAA says temperatures will be above-normal. That’s after the past two summers brought record breaking heat.
The population of homeless people has gone up. That has led to an increase in the number of people who die when living on the streets. The yearly death toll among homeless people has soared 77% over the past five years in 20 major US cities. According to an analysis by The Guardian and a university at least 5,000 die each year. The causes include extreme weather, untreated diseases, violence, and drug overdoses.
A heat wave has hit much of the US. Some cities have taken emergency steps. They include opening more air-conditioned cooling centers and homeless shelters. But it has not slowed the number of homeless people who die of heat-related causes.