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[Editorial] Heatwaves and health

22 000 people, half of them elderly, were reportedly taken to hospital with symptoms of heat stroke during the past month’s heatwave in Japan, where record temperatures exceeded 41°C. Exceptionally high and persistent July temperatures also baked north America and Europe, and set the stage for catastrophic forest fires not only in Greece, but also above the Arctic circle in Alaska and Lapland. Climate change makes heatwaves more frequent and severe. Yet, unlike other natural disasters—with which, based on impact, they should be rightly grouped—heatwaves do not elicit an immediate cross-sectoral response to protect life.

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