Heat Disasters Around the World

While the effects of extreme heat are less apparent to the naked eye compared to other natural disasters like floods and snowstorms, heat waves actually cause the most deaths out of all natural disasters, both within the United States and around the world.
Globally, heat waves kill nearly half a million people a year. In the United States alone, heat waves affected over 100 million Americans in the summer of 2022.
Heat waves are defined by UNICEF as any period of three days or more when the maximum temperature each day is in the top 10 percent of the local 15-day average.

Hot and humid conditions negatively affect physical health, which you can read about in Eztia’s article on the human physiological response to heat. The combination of high heat and dry environments increases the risk of droughts and wildfires, which hurt the agricultural sector and can lead to food shortages, among other consequences. 

The invisibility of extreme heat makes it all the more insidious.

Monitoring & evaluation of high heat and its effects have historically been overlooked, underreported and difficult to quantify. It’s challenging to convince stakeholders that something is important and worth investing in when they can’t easily see it for themselves.

Eztia created this map of heat-related disasters to shed light on heat waves in recent years on different continents and demonstrate that the implications of extreme heat are universal across land and water, humans and our animal and plant counterparts.

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