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Archived Comments for: Spatial patterns of natural hazards mortality in the United States

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  1. re: Heat deaths

    K.C. Hunsaker, San Diego Hospice

    17 December 2008

    If heat were the primary cause of death, then what explains the relatively few deaths in Arizona, for example? It has a large, vulnerable elderly population, and very high summer temperatures. Looking further, I would hazard a guess that poverty (inability to afford central air and thus nighttime cooling) and genetic predisposition to heart disease, both leading to heat deaths, would be the more likely ultimate culprits.

    Competing interests

    None declared

  2. Nothing's happening in Arizona

    Joseph Hill, No affiliation

    18 December 2008

    I think I have the answer to R. C. Hunsaker's query (why so few heat deaths in Arizona). The SHELDUS database only records casualties from hazard events. Here in Arizona, we don't have heat events, we just have heat. (And occasional non-heat events.) That must be why SHELDUS records only 56 heat-event-related deaths in Arizona, compared to 951 in Illinois. <br><br>If the study looked at all hazard deaths, the picture would certainly be different. I don't know total numbers for Arizona, but I do know there have been at least 4,000 heat-related deaths of undocumented migrants along the southwest border since the 1990s. (Before changes in federal border policy, there were none -- speaking of contributing factors ...) But neither these deaths nor any other "uneventful" deaths are in SHELDUS.

    Competing interests

    The commenter is a volunteer with the humanitarian-aid and border-justice group No More Deaths (nomoredeaths.org).

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