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Deadly Japan Heat Wave Continues as Temperatures Reach Highest Ever

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Updated: | Originally published: ;

A deadly heat wave blistering across Japan has claimed more than 40 lives this month, with little relief in sight as record temperatures are expected to persist until later this week.

The country logged its highest-ever temperature at 106 degrees Fahrenheit (41.1°C) in Kumagaya, near Tokyo on Monday afternoon, according to Japan’s Kyodo news agency.

Eleven people, mostly senior citizens, died of suspected heatstroke on Saturday alone, the Japan Times reports. The searing heat has also seen a surge in distress calls, with an estimated 10,000 people hospitalized for heat-related conditions since the heat wave began on July 9.

Temperatures reached 105 degrees Fahrenheit (40.7°C) in central Japan’s Tajimi city, Gifu Prefecture earlier this week, the highest in the country for five years. While in Kyoto, temperatures peaked at 103°F (39.8°C) after seven consecutive days of being above 100°F — a first since records began.

The country’s meteorological agency on Sunday issued active heat warnings in 39 of Japan’s 47 prefectures, and has broadcast calls for residents in affected areas to drink water and use air conditioners, Japan’s Yomiuri Shobun reports.

On Saturday, the Tokyo fire department dispatched more than 3,000 ambulances on Saturday, the most active day in the department’s history.

The heat has also added complications to rescue and rehabilitation efforts in western Japan, which is still reeling from widespread flooding and landslides that claimed more than 200 lives this month. An estimated 4,500 people displaced from their homes are still living in emergency shelters, according to ABC.


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Write to Eli Meixler at eli.meixler@time.com