The UK could see 'hundreds of deaths' related to the extreme heat, an expert has warned.
Last summer more than 2,500 deaths were linked to heatwaves - with 1,700 of those in August alone.
On Sunday, five people died in water-related incidents in apparent attempts to cool down on what was the hottest day of the year.
Now an expert has warned we could see more deaths this year as the country is gripped by a 'natural disaster'.
Speaking to the Mirror, climate scientist Bob Ward from the London School of Economics has warned we could see a spike in deaths this year due to heatwaves.
He said: "We are in the middle of a natural disaster with hundreds of people dying across England and Wales.
"Most of those who are dying are elderly or have underlying respiratory illnesses, living in houses and care homes that are prone to overheating.
"Many of these deaths could have been prevented if the Government had implemented a national heat risk strategy."
Ward has now written to Prime Minister Boris Johnson to warn him that the UK is not prepared for the risks caused by hotter weather and to urge him to create a national heat risk strategy.
Ward's comments come after the Met Office issued its first ever 'extreme heat' weather warning for the UK.
According to the centre, the amber warning has been sounded for a lot of Wales, the entire South-West of England and parts of southern and central England.
This is the first time it has been issued since the Met Office introduced its extreme heat warning service launched last month.
The Met Office's chief operational meteorologist Steven Ramsdale said: "Many areas will continue to reach heatwave thresholds but the amber extreme heat warning focuses on western areas where the most unusually high temperatures are likely to persist."
Speaking to the i earlier this year, a Met Office spokesperson warned: "In the most extreme circumstances, prolonged spells of heat can cause illness and even death.
"According to Public Health England figures, 2,256 excess deaths were reported across the country during heatwaves in the summer of 2020 - the highest since records began.
"It's hoped the new extreme heat warning can help the public, businesses and organisations better prepare for hot conditions, thereby reducing disruption and impacts."
Featured Image Credit: PA
Topics: UK News
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