Elderly and children at risk with heat; National Heat Plan activated from Monday
The National Heat Plan will come into effect on Monday in the Netherlands, said National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM). The heat across much of Europe can also create smog. People who are sensitive to smog can develop health complaints as a result. That is why, in addition to the heat plan, there will also be a smog warning starting Monday.
The RIVM said that the heat can trigger health problems in several vulnerable groups, such as the elderly. This may involve discomfort such as fatigue, headaches, and concentration problems, but also far more serious problems such as dehydration and heat stroke.
"The elderly are the most vulnerable group, because they are less able to control their body temperature and are less likely to feel thirsty," according to the RIVM. Others can also have problems, such as people people with a chronic condition, people who are socially isolated, the homeless, overweight people, and young children including babies and toddlers.
"Both extreme heat and high concentrations of ozone in the summer (summer smog) affect everyone, but summer smog also impacts vulnerable groups, such as the elderly, children, people with respiratory diseases and people who exercise in the open air."
It is advised to drink plenty of water water, to keep living spaces cool, and to limit physical exertion. In addition, there is a call for the public to pay extra attention to people in their area who might need help.
The National Heat Plan means that organizations, professionals and volunteers are promptly informed that persistent warm weather is forecast. They are then able to take action and implement measures to protect the vulnerable groups.
The decision to institute the heat plan was taken in consultation with the Dutch meteorological institute, KNMI. On Monday, temperatures are expected around 30 degrees, reaching upwards of 35 degrees in the south. On Tuesday, the mercury is expected to rise to between 33 and 37 degrees in the central and southern parts of the country. Due to the situation, a Code Yellow weather warning is in effect on Monday and Tuesday, which could later become a more severe Orange warning.
Several regional branches of the GGD already adjusted opening hours of coronavirus testing centers and Covid-19 vaccination points. The infrastructure agency, Rijkswaterstaat, also alerted motorists to keep cold water in cars as well as an umbrella for shade in case of breakdowns.
The heat may also impact the schedule of the International Four Days of Marching in Nijmegen, an annual event expected to draw up to 42,000 people next week. A press conference about the event was expected to take place at 2 p.m. on Sunday.
The heat plan is expected to be withdrawn on Wednesday, when thunderstorms and a drop in temperature are predicted to take place.
Reporting by ANP