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Hundreds of homeless die in extreme heat

Published on July 5, 2022

Downtown of Phoenix AZ from an airplane. The mountain in the center is Piestewa Peak.
Downtown of Phoenix AZ from an airplane Image Credit: Melikamp CCASA 3.0

Hundreds of blue, green and grey tents are pitched under the sun’s searing rays in downtown Phoenix, a jumble of flimsy canvas and plastic along dusty sidewalks. Here, in the hottest big city in America, thousands of homeless people swelter as the summer’s triple digit temperatures arrive.

The stifling tent city has ballooned amid pandemic-era evictions and surging rents that have dumped hundreds more people onto the sizzling streets that grow eerily quiet when temperatures peak in the midafternoon. A heat wave earlier this month brought temperatures of up to 114 degrees (45.5 Celsius) — and it’s only June. Highs reached 118 degrees (47.7 Celsius) last year.

Just in the county that includes Phoenix, at least 130 homeless people were among the 339 individuals who died from heat-associated causes in 2021.

“If 130 homeless people were dying in any other way it would be considered a mass casualty event,” said Kristie L. Ebi, Professor of Global Health at the University of Washington.

Continue reading at AP News.

Originally written by Anita Snow for AP News.
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