02 Oct 2023, 13:33
Sören Amelang

Germany records over 3,000 heat-related deaths in 2023 – health authority

Clean Energy Wire

Around 3,100 people have died in the first nine months of 2023 in Germany due to high temperatures, according to preliminary calculations by Germany’s health authority Robert Koch Institute. The largest share of heat-related deaths occurred in the age groups 75 years and older. “Overall, more women than men die in connection with heat in absolute terms. However, this can be attributed to the high proportion of women in the older age groups,” RKI explained. “In some cases, for example heat stroke, heat exposure leads directly to death, while in most cases it is the combination of heat exposure and pre-existing conditions that leads to death.” Because heat is not registered as the underlying cause of death in these cases, the institute used statistical methods combining mortality and temperature data to estimate the number of heat-related deaths. “Typically, a heat-related increase in total mortality becomes visible from a weekly mean temperature (average over the daytime and night-time temperatures of a week) of about 20°C onwards,” RKI said.

Last year, around 4,500 people died due to high temperatures in Germany, but RKI said total mortality was particularly high due to the Covid Pandemic. In 2018, 2019 and 2015, the country registered more than 6,000 heat-related deaths each year, while the number ranged between 1,000 and 1,700 in 2014, 2016, 2017 and 2021. “These differences can be attributed to the varying degrees of heat periodes,” RKI said.

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