Four people are dead and three remain in a critical condition in Melbourne after a thunderstorm triggered a mass asthma event.
During Monday’s unprecendented event, which overwhelmed the city’s emergency services, many more people suffered cardiac arrest and difficulty breathing.
The extreme winds brought by the storm broke up particles into small enough pieces that they entered people’s lungs.
Clarence Leo, a father-of two from Noble Park, Apollo Papadopoulos, 35, Hope Carnevali, 20, and year-12 student Omar Moujalled all died from the rare ‘thunderstorm asthma’.
Victoria’s health minister, Jill Hennessy, said:
This was a health emergency of an unprecedented scale and we have an obligation to ensure that we learn every lesson there is to learn from this event,” Hennessy said.
This review will make sure that should this, or an event of a similar scale, ever occur again we have the right systems, measures and resources in place to provide the very best response.
Emergency services dealt with an overwhelming 1,900 emergency calls in the space of five hours, and a there will be a review of the health system’s response.
A department of health spokesman confirmed that three people are still in critical condition, while a GoFundMe page has been set up for Leo’s family.
Our thoughts go out to all those affected.