Heatwave deaths soar


Adelaide has been in the grips of an unprecedented heat wave, with temperatures soaring above 40°C for six consecutive days into early February.

The heatwave has sparked meltdowns in public transport infrastructure, power shortages and the deaths of 30 elderly pensioners.

In a February 1 AdelaideNow article, the family of 82-year-old Hazel Quinn, of Beverley, spoke of their grief at losing their mother and grandmother after power was cut to her home for 26 hours.

"The house was like a sauna" said her daughter, Mary Slater. Her mother was discovered by a friend.

It was reported that in the days leading up to her death, Quinn was only able to use a fan sporadically due to repeated power failures and it was only after her death that the Electricity Trust of South Australia (ETSA) decided to upgrade the electricity transfer to stop further blackouts to the affected areas.

Power cuts aside, many pensioners are living in the public housing system in old and inadequate housing with little or no airconditioning to begin with and substandard maintenance provided to existing units.

It's common knowledge that many in public housing are unable to cool their homes effectively and purchase their basic necessities due to the inadequacy of the aged pension.

This has prompted welfare groups to reiterate last year's call for a rise in the pension. On February 2, Australian Greens leader Bob Brown called upon the government to include pension raises in the current economic stimulus package.