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Associated Press: Extreme heat wave in Canada and America may have caused hundreds of deaths

The Associated Press said that the historic heat wave that hit the Northwest Pacific region and affected Canada, Oregon and Washington, USA, may have caused hundreds of deaths, as temperatures reached previously unrecorded in usually temperate cities.

 Oregon health officials said more than 60 deaths were linked to the heat wave, and the state's largest county, Multnoma, blamed the weather for 45 deaths since the heat wave began last Friday.

The chief medical examiner for British Columbia, Western Canada, Lisa Lapointe, said her office received reports of 486 sudden and unexpected deaths between last Friday and Wednesday noon. She said about 165 people usually die in the county within a five-day period.

 La Pointe said in a statement that while it is too early to say with certainty the number of heat-related deaths, it is likely that the significant increase in deaths reported was caused by hot weather.

There are no air conditioners in many of the affected areas, such as Seattle and Vancouver in British Columbia. Vancouver police official Steve Addison said the city had never experienced a heat like this, and unfortunately dozens of people died because of it.

Washington state officials have also linked more than 20 deaths to the heat wave, but the numbers are expected to rise.

The heat wave resulted from what meteorologists described as a dome of high pressure over the northwest, exacerbated by human-caused climate change, making such extreme weather events more likely and more intense. Seattle, Portland and many other cities have smashed all-time temperature records, in some places reaching as high as 46 degrees Celsius.