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News Destination For The Global Indian Community

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Intense Heatwaves Wreak Havoc Across the Globe

Intense Heatwaves Wreak Havoc Across the Globe

A deadly heatwave gripped large regions of Asia for weeks in April and May 2024, with temperatures soaring past 110 degrees Fahrenheit (43.3 Celsius) in India on May 7. The oppressive heat caused politicians, local news announcers, and voters to faint. From Japan to the Philippines, the relentless heat disrupted everyday life. In Cambodia, students and teachers were sent home as hand-held fans provided little relief in poorly ventilated classrooms. Thai farmers saw crops wither and livestock perish under the punishing sun, leading to hundreds of heat-related deaths.

The world has increasingly suffered from extreme heat in recent years. A weekslong heatwave in the southwestern United States in 2023 saw Phoenix endure 110 F (43.3 C) or higher for 31 straight days. Europe faced unprecedented temperatures that killed hundreds and fueled wildfires in Greece. Older adults are particularly vulnerable to extreme heat, and this crisis is expected to worsen.

Our research on climate change and population aging reveals two troubling trends. First, global temperatures are hotter than ever, with 2015-2023 being the hottest period on record. Second, the global population is aging, with the number of people aged 60 and older expected to double to 2.1 billion by 2050, making up 21 percent of the population.

By 2050, more than 23 percent of people aged 69 and older will live in regions where peak temperatures surpass 99.5 F (37.5 C), up from 14 percent today. This means 250 million more older adults will face dangerously high temperatures. Most will be in lower- and middle-income countries with insufficient services and limited access to electricity, cooling appliances, and safe water.

Policymakers, communities, and families must understand and prepare for these risks. High temperatures can be deadly for older adults, exacerbating health conditions and increasing vulnerability to dehydration and poor air quality. Effective regional strategies and significant investments are needed to protect aging populations from escalating heat risks.

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Intense Heatwaves Wreak Havoc Across the Globe

Intense Heatwaves Wreak Havoc Across the Globe

A deadly heatwave gripped large regions of Asia for weeks in April and May 2024, with temperatures soaring past 110 degrees Fahrenheit (43.3 Celsius) in India on May 7. The oppressive heat caused politicians, local news announcers, and voters to faint. From Japan to the Philippines, the relentless heat disrupted everyday life. In Cambodia, students and teachers were sent home as hand-held fans provided little relief in poorly ventilated classrooms. Thai farmers saw crops wither and livestock perish under the punishing sun, leading to hundreds of heat-related deaths.

The world has increasingly suffered from extreme heat in recent years. A weekslong heatwave in the southwestern United States in 2023 saw Phoenix endure 110 F (43.3 C) or higher for 31 straight days. Europe faced unprecedented temperatures that killed hundreds and fueled wildfires in Greece. Older adults are particularly vulnerable to extreme heat, and this crisis is expected to worsen.

Our research on climate change and population aging reveals two troubling trends. First, global temperatures are hotter than ever, with 2015-2023 being the hottest period on record. Second, the global population is aging, with the number of people aged 60 and older expected to double to 2.1 billion by 2050, making up 21 percent of the population.

By 2050, more than 23 percent of people aged 69 and older will live in regions where peak temperatures surpass 99.5 F (37.5 C), up from 14 percent today. This means 250 million more older adults will face dangerously high temperatures. Most will be in lower- and middle-income countries with insufficient services and limited access to electricity, cooling appliances, and safe water.

Policymakers, communities, and families must understand and prepare for these risks. High temperatures can be deadly for older adults, exacerbating health conditions and increasing vulnerability to dehydration and poor air quality. Effective regional strategies and significant investments are needed to protect aging populations from escalating heat risks.

 
 

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