Heatwaves in France caused an extra 1,500 deaths, officials say
September 10, 2019 12:14 pm
People paddled in the Trocadero Fountain in front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris to keep cool
Two heatwaves that engulfed France over the summer led to an additional 1,500 deaths, the country’s health minister has confirmed.
Speaking to France Inter radio on Sunday, Agnes Buzyn said preventative measures meant there was a drastically lower number of deaths in comparison to a heatwave in 2003 that killed 15,000 people.
Ms Buzyn said: “The 2003 heatwave lasted 20 days. We had 18 days in two waves and we managed to cut mortality by a factor of 10 thanks to preventative measures.”
According to the health ministry, there were 1,465 more deaths than usual: 567 during the first heatwave in June, and 868 during the second heatwave in July.
The average number of deaths reported increased by 9.1% over the period, with more than half aged over 75.
France experienced its hottest-ever day on record at the end of June, with temperatures reaching 46C (114.8F) in Verargues, a commune in the country’s south.
A second heatwave hit in mid-July, which broke several regional records as temperatures surpassed 40C (104F).
Paris broke its all-time temperature record during this heatwave – recording 42.6C (108.68F).