As summer draws nearer and the mercury begins to climb, Belgians are bracing themselves for another hot summer.
According to the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts, Belgium will have a warm and dry summer rather than a cold and wet one, which is not only bad news for water scarcity, but could also mean a repeat of last summer’s heatwaves.
While the heatwaves of 2021’s summer carried the extra risk of fatalities due to the pandemic, even without high rates of the virus circulating, heatwaves are potentially deadly for many vulnerable people.
Brussels Heatwave Plan targets at-risk residents
Cities tend to be warmer than less-densely populated surrounding areas due to the urban heat island effect, and climate change is poised to make heatwaves in metropolitan areas not only more commonplace but also just plain hotter.
Brussels is preparing for the summer’s steamy temperatures by renewing a call for residents to register for help during heatwaves (designated when temperatures reach above 28 degrees Celsius) by calling the toll-free number 0800 35 550 during business hours.
The heatwave plan calls on vulnerable groups in particular to register in advance.
“Are you socially isolated? Do you have fragile health? Do you have difficulty moving around? Do you know someone with these problems? Do not hesitate to contact the hotline,” reads a statement on the official website for the Heatwave Plan.
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“Registering on the number ensures that you are well protected in the event of a severe heatwave,” the statement continues.
During a heatwave, neighbourhood centres and leisure centres offer a wide range of social services to the Brussels inhabitants.
The heatwave plan includes regular contact with the registered persons, distribution of water jugs, special teams that visit homes to check on the wellbeing of people who have been registered and checks of the living conditions in registered homes.
Hearing impaired persons or persons who have difficulty in expressing themselves verbally are encouraged to fax 02 218 32 48 or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.