Publication Date August 2, 2018

Record-breaking temperatures leave 29 dead in South Korean heatwave

South Korea
A firefighter sprays water in an alley of a residential district in Seoul to help ease the summer heat. Photo: Jung Yeon-Je, AFP/Getty Images

As many as 29 people have died due to heatstroke in South Korea, according to the South Korean Ministry of Health, Welfare and Disease Control.

The country is undergoing an extended heatwave, with at least 15 days of temperatures over 35˚C (95˚F) recorded, the Korean Meteorological Administration (KMA) reported. The agency added that Wednesday was the hottest day in Seoul in 111 years, with a temperature of 39.6˚C.

The Office of the Prime Minister has ordered all public construction sites to cease work during daytime hours for the duration of the extreme temperatures.


The unprecedented high temperatures are also affecting neighboring Japan, with dozens of deaths reported as temperatures top 41 degrees Celsius.

Last week in Kumagaya, a city near Tokyo, the mercury rose to 41.1 degrees (106 F), the highest ever on record in Japan, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency, almost 12 degrees hotter than average temperatures at this time of year.


It is these types of heatwaves that scientists have been warning would be a consequence of warming the planet through greenhouse gas emissions.

"The impacts of climate change are no longer subtle," said Michael Mann, a climate scientist and director of the Earth System Science Center at Penn State University.