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Mexico grapples with deadly heatwave: Over 21 lives lost, hospitalizations soar amid record-breaking temperatures

Posted: Thursday, June 29, 2023. 6:58 am CST.

By Breaking Belize News Staff: According to the Latin Post, a searing heat dome over Mexico and Texas has led to a dangerous heatwave, causing death and illness in its wake. In Mexico, the number of fatalities continues to escalate, prompting urgent responses from local governments.

Since March, no fewer than 112 individuals have succumbed to “natural extreme temperatures,” reports the Mexican Health Secretariat. The northern state of Nuevo Leon has suffered the greatest impact, with a confirmed death toll of 64.

This relentless heatwave has also heavily affected other states, with Tamaulipas, Veracruz, Tabasco, Oaxaca, Quintana Roo, Sonora, and Campeche each reporting dozens of casualties. In addition, CNN reveals that over 1,559 individuals have sought medical treatment for heat-related health conditions since March.

Mexico has experienced record-breaking temperatures over the past ten days, with some regions even reporting all-time highs of over 45 degrees Celsius. The situation has grown so dire that local governments are implementing emergency measures. In Tamaulipas, Governor Americo Villarreal Anaya has directed the establishment of a task force to formulate a response plan to the heatwave-induced fatalities.

The sweltering conditions are not confined to Mexico. As the Latin Post previously reported, the southern United States, particularly Texas, is also experiencing the crushing heat. Both countries are suffering under a “heat dome,” a high-pressure system that traps warm air inside, escalating temperatures. This phenomenon is predicted to persist until the end of June, but climate change could make such heat domes more frequent and intense.

In Texas, the heatwave has triggered a sharp increase in power consumption, straining the state’s power grid and resulting in some blackouts. Mexico is facing a similar predicament as residents use more air conditioning to combat the heat. According to The Guardian, the country’s energy demands have already outstripped last year’s by 9%. The strain on the power grid is evident, with blackouts already reported in cities like Cancun and Tulum, leaving many residents without air conditioning and fresh water, contributing to heat-related deaths.

Texas is also under severe strain, with at least 50 million people now under extreme heat advisories due to soaring temperatures. The pressure on the Texas power grid has become so severe that the grid’s operator has asked Texans to voluntarily cut back on electricity use in response to the record-high demand.

Scientists link the ongoing heat wave to climate change. “They are occurring at a higher frequency, so that also increases the likelihood of sequential heatwaves,” says Kai Kornhuber, a scientist at Climate Analytics and Columbia University. While climate change is a significant factor, the El Niño phenomenon also plays a role this year, further escalating global temperatures and exacerbating the heatwaves currently plaguing regions worldwide.

Daniel Swain, a climate scientist at the University of California, Los Angeles, explains El Niño’s role in the global climate system as “moving some of the energy up from depth and dumping it into the atmosphere.” As Mexico and Texas brace for further temperature surges, the devastating heat waves underscore the urgent need for climate action on a global scale.


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