Canada has recorded its highest ever temperature in an unprecedented heatwave.
More than 230 deaths were reported in British Columbia where the temperature soared to 46.6C (116F), breaking an 84-year-old record.
The province’s chief coroner called it an “unprecedented time.”
“Since the onset of the heatwave late last week, the BC Coroners Service has experienced a significant increase in deaths reported where it is suspected that extreme heat has been contributory,” Chief Coroner Lisa Lapointe said in a statement.
Coroners are now gathering information to determine the cause and manner of deaths and whether heat played a role, the statement said.
“Environmental heat exposure can lead to severe or fatal results, particularly in older people, infants, and young children and those with chronic illnesses,” the statement added.
The Canadian authorities warned citizens of “dangerous” heat levels that could persist this week.
Environment Canada, the country’s government department coordinating environmental policies and programmes, has warned that the “dangerous” heatwave is expected to continue to affect British Columbia until Wednesday, with northwestern parts expected to get some relief sooner.
The department said an exceptionally strong ridge of high pressure over the province would continue to bring record-breaking temperatures until then.
Experts say that climate change is expected to increase the frequency of extreme weather events, such as heatwaves.
Globally, the decade to 2019 was the hottest recorded, and the five hottest years have all occurred within the last five years.