54 deaths in Quebec attributed to heat as hot, humid weather subsides

Women and children play in the water fountains at the Place des Arts in Montreal on Tuesday

Health authorities in the Canadian province of Quebec say 33 people have died from heat-related complications in the last few days.

Numerous victims were men over the age of 50 living alone in private apartments and seniors' residences, according to David Kaiser of Montreal's public health department.

Temperatures soared to 93 Fahrenheit with a humidity that made it feel much hotter than that, the meteorological service said.

Montreal health officials also opened 19 cooling stations in public health and social services buildings across the city and asked people to call public transport services to get a ride to one of the air-conditioned centers.

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As of early morning, Montérégie's public health department reported two more deaths caused by the worst heat wave Quebec has seen in decades. The temperature of the air in their homes reached 38 degrees. The other victims were reported in the southwest of the French-Canadian province.

In Ontario, a spokeswoman for the coroner's office said it couldn't confirm if there were any heat-related deaths, adding it could take weeks or several months to complete such probes.

"Most of the deaths are a result of chronic illnesses, but due to the high temperatures, it is possible to conclude that the heat has contributed to the high number of deaths". "Obviously when we get there and the person may have passed, they're very rarely already with family".

Urgences-sante said it has been inundated by the volume of calls - 1,200 calls per day in Montreal and nearby Laval over the past four days, which is 30 per cent more than usual on busy days.

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