I loved the hot weather while I was in Cornwall, but, as ever it has been claiming victims, especially among the old. In the UK, the Health Protection Agency says its initial impression is that there have been “several hundred excess deaths” over the past two weeks.
This is not particularly surprising. The heatwave of 2003, probably the deadliest Europe has ever seen, is believed to have cost more than 2,000 lives in the UK, and perhaps 50,000 over the continent as a whole.
More surprising is the news from Russia, where temperatures have been pressing close to the all-time Moscow record of 36°C, and the country is suffering what may be its worst drought in a century.
In just a week, more than 230 people have drowned, many of them through going for a swim when tanked up with vodka. The death toll also includes six schoolchildren who drowned, while the summer camp workers who were supposed to be looking after them were drunk.
(See also my blogs of 2nd Feb, 27th June, 26th July, 2009.)