40C forecast: Left calls for public "cold rooms" to help people cool off
With the thermometer expected to regularly rocket up beyond the 40-degree mark from mid-July, politicians in Germany are saying that the country is not adequately prepared to help people cope with the heat. The Left and the CSU are demanding action from the government, with public information campaigns, air conditioning installations and public “cold rooms” all floated as solutions.
Heat plan: Cold rooms and public information campaigns
The Left party has accused Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach of being unprepared for the wave of warm weather heading to Germany, which is expected to bring one heatwave after another over the coming weeks.
Stephan Pilsinger, health spokesperson for the CSU, demanded that Lauterbach give the population some advice. “The Federal Ministry of Health has a duty to prepare the population for an extraordinary heat wave - like the one we are facing in the next few days - and to inform them about appropriate preventative measures,” he told Tagesspiegel, adding that the Union faction was calling on the federal government to launch a heat action plan.
“Public air-conditioned cold rooms - “cooling shelters” - have to be set up, [and] old people’s homes and other care facilities have to be equipped with air conditioning,” Kathrin Vogler, healthy policy spokesperson for the Left, said in an interview with Tagesspiegel.
She further called for people who work outdoors or in overly hot rooms to get compensation, explaining that extreme heat not only affected elderly and infirm people, but also socially disadvantaged people who tend to live in “cheap, poorly insulated apartments” without gardens or air conditioning.
Heatwaves heading for Germany
Germany is bracing itself for several weeks of hot weather from the middle of July to the beginning of August, with the German Weather Service recently predicting highs surpassing 40 degrees in some areas and a solid two weeks of extreme heat in some major German cities.
Health Minister Karl Lauterbach wrote on Twitter over the weekend that the country should take care, especially elderly and more vulnerable people, warning that the heat wave would likely cause some fatalities. He urged everyone to stay well hydrated and to keep rooms well-ventilated.