At least 15 people died during July heatwave, Health Ministry confirms

A Ministry spokesperson said that since 17 July, 15 people died due to dehydration or hyperthermia

At least 15 people have died in Malta since 17 July due to dehydration or hyperthermia, the Health Ministry confirmed to MaltaToday.

Malta grappled with a 10-day heatwave, during which six days registered air temperatures higher than 40°C. The maximum temperature peaked at 42.7°C on 24 July, equalling the July 1988 record reached during a four-day heatwave.

Hyperthermia is an elevated body temperature above the normal range, leading to symptoms like sweating, dehydration, rapid breathing, and confusion. If not promptly treated, it can progress to heat exhaustion or heatstroke and become life-threatening.

The elderly and children are at greater risk of serious harm from heatstroke and are encouraged to avoid exposure to the sun during peak heat hours.

A Health Ministry spokesperson had already confirmed that four persons had died over the last weekend due to the sweltering temperatures.

The heatwave lasted till Wednesday, as Northwesterly winds offered some relief, bringing down the maximum temperature to around 31°C to 34°C.

The excessive heat increased the electricity demand to record numbers, reaching 649MW on Monday. This demand led to frequent and hour-long power cuts during the day and night all around Malta and Gozo.

The Mater Dei Hospital administration had also decided to postpone several unurgent operations after the hospital emergency ward experienced an influx of admissions.