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Does Belgrade (Serbia) need heat health warning system?

Gorica B. Stanojević (Physical Geography Department, Geographical Institute “Jovan Cvijic” SASA, Belgrade, Serbia)
Aleksandra B. Spalević (Spatial Planning Department, Geographical Institute “Jovan Cvijic” SASA, Belgrade, Serbia)
Vlasta M. Kokotović (Social Geography Department, Geographical Institute “Jovan Cvijic” SASA, Belgrade, Serbia)
Jelena N. Stojilković (Social Geography Department, Geographical Institute “Jovan Cvijic” SASA, Belgrade, Serbia)

Disaster Prevention and Management

ISSN: 0965-3562

Article publication date: 28 October 2014




The purpose of this paper is to investigate whether is Belgrade (Serbia) suitable candidate for introduction of Heat Health Warning System (HHWS). Belgrade has high population density, considerable share of built up area and lot of multi floor buildings that are factors of heat-health vulnerability.


The authors analyzed the impact of weather conditions on human health in Belgrade during the summer 2007 that was extremely warm in Southeastern Europe and Serbia. Daily cardiovascular, cerebrovascular and respiratory mortality counts were used in Poisson regression model with air temperature as predictor variable. Also, three different heat wave indices (Warm Spell Duration Index, apparent temperature and index based on daily minimum temperature) were tested in order to estimate their ability to capture episodes with mortality higher than expected.


The temperature has the highest influence on cerebrovascular and cardiovascular mortality, while slightly modifies respiratory mortality. According to regression equation, a 1°C increase in mean daily temperature is associated with a 4.6 percent (p<0.0001), 2.2 percent (p<0.0001) and 1.6 percent (insignificant for p<0.10) increase in cerebrovascular, cardiovascular and respiratory mortality, respectively.


Even thought the Law recognizes the heat wave as natural hazard, there is no concrete measures and action for prevention of excess mortality. It is shown that extreme temperature had numerous social consequences on city's residents in the summer 2007. Given the results the authors got, it is recommended that the HHWS should be implemented in health protection plans in Belgrade.



This study is supported by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development of the Republic of Serbia – Project III47007.


B. Stanojević, G., B. Spalević, A., M. Kokotović, V. and N. Stojilković, J. (2014), "Does Belgrade (Serbia) need heat health warning system?", Disaster Prevention and Management, Vol. 23 No. 5, pp. 494-507.



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