Nearly 1,500 people died in France's summer heatwave

9 September 2019, 10:47 | Updated: 25 October 2019, 15:04

Nearly 1,500 people died during the unprecedented heatwave in France this year
Nearly 1,500 people died during the unprecedented heatwave in France this year. Picture: PA
Sylvia De Luca

By Sylvia De Luca

Nearly 1,500 people died in France during record heatwaves in June and July this year, according to the country’s health minister.

Health Minister Agnes Buzyn said there were 1,435 deaths - over 1,000 more than the annual average for the time of year. 

She added that half of those who died were aged over 75.

There were 18 days of recorded heatwave in France this year during June and July and France recorded its highest-ever temperature of 46C in June.

The capital, Paris, also saw a record high temperature of 42.6C in July.

But Ms Buzyn said, thanks to preventative measures, the rate was 10 times lower than the same period in 2003 when a deadly heatwave hit Europe.

During the summer, red alerts - the most severe warning category - were issued in several areas of France. In hot periods, many schools and public events were closed to minimise public exposure.

Large parks and swimming pools were also kept open in some cities to help people stay cool. Paris authorities organised emergency phone lines and set up temporary "cool rooms" in municipal buildings.

France experienced 18 days of heatwave this summer, which experts say is due to climate change.
France experienced 18 days of heatwave this summer, which experts say is due to climate change. Picture: PA

All-time high temperatures were also recorded in other European countries, including the UK, Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg and the Netherlands.

No other country has yet released official data on deaths caused by this year's heatwaves.

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