Montreal, July 5: At least 17 people have been killed in a heatwave in Quebec in the last week as temperatures plummeted in eastern Canada. Health officials reported the high summer temperatures scorched eastern Canada leaving as many as 12 dead in eastern province’s capital Montreal.

Regional public health director Mylene Drouin confirmed the same. As per a report in The Tribune, five of the deaths occurred in the past 48 hours in the Eastern Townships, a rural area just east of the city. “My thoughts are with the loved ones of those who have died in Quebec during this heat wave,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Twitter.

Trudeau said,”The record temperatures are expected to continue in central and eastern Canada, so make sure you know how to protect yourself and your family.”

Drouin said the victims were part of “the very vulnerable population, the elderly or people suffering from chronic or mental illnesses.” Temperatures soared to 34 degrees Celsius (93 Fahrenheit) with a humidity that made it feel closer to 40 degrees, the meteorological service said.

The mercury has regularly topped 30 degrees since Friday in southern Quebec, accompanied by stifling humidity levels. A government heat warning is in place for the region, but meteorologists are forecasting a drop in temperatures at the end of the week.

No deaths had been reported for the same period in the neighbouring province of Ontario, which has also sizzled under extremely high temperatures. In 2010, a heat wave killed around 100 people in the Montreal area.

With inputs from AFP.