Calls for help increase on hottest day of the year

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 04 August, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 04 August, 2007, 12:00am

Yesterday was the hottest day of the year in the city, with the temperature breaking the record set last Saturday.

A subtropical ridge dominated the city causing temperatures to top 35.3 degrees Celsius in urban areas yesterday afternoon, slightly higher than the previous record of 34.8 degrees set on July 28.

The very hot weather warning issued on July 24 has remained in force for more than 10 days.

Other areas including the New Territories have higher temperatures than in urban locations.

The highest temperature was 37.9 degrees recorded at Waglan Island at noon, while it was 36.1 degrees at Ta Kwu Ling North.

The Observatory forecast sunny periods tomorrow and scattered showers early next week.

In the 24 hours to midnight yesterday, 1,122 people had called the Senior Citizen Home Safety Association's round-the-clock personal emergency link. Eighty-four people who had trouble breathing and felt dizzy were admitted to hospital.

An association spokesman said there was an increase in the number of calls for help. '[There have been] about 24 per cent more [calls] than in the same period last year,' he said.

'The major reason is because temperatures have increased this year.'

The peak period for calls were usually early in the morning or at noon.

As of yesterday, the temporary night heat shelters had more than 1,200 visits since they opened on July 24, including 112 visitors since 10.30pm last night.

A Home Affairs Department spokeswoman said the shelters would be opened if the heat warning remained in force after 4.30pm. She also advised anyone who needed assistance to visit nearby community centres during the afternoon. The nine shelters in the city open from 10.30pm to 8am.

The Department of Health has warned the public to take necessary measures to prevent heatstroke and sunburn.

Assistant Director of Health (Health Promotion) Regina Ching Cheuk-tuen advised the public to drink plenty of water to prevent dehydration while engaging in outdoor activities.

Dr Ching also said people ought to avoid beverages containing caffeine and alcohol since they could speed up water loss from the body through the urinary system.