France records over 5000 deaths due to 2023 summer heat

Thursday, February 8, 2024
 – More than 5,000 people died in France as a result of summer heat last year, health authorities said Thursday, February 8.

“Everyone has been affected,” Caroline Semaille, head of France’s public health agency, told reporters as she presented a report on heat-related deaths last year.

The summer of 2023, marked by four heatwaves including in August and September, was the fourth hottest on record in France.

The year 2023 was also the hottest year on record globally.

According to France’s public health agency, 5,167 deaths or three out of every 100 fatalities were attributable to heat last summer. Of the deaths, around 3,700 were aged over 75.

The extreme heat has been straining healthcare systems, hitting older people, infants, and children.

By comparison, nearly 7,000 deaths were attributable to heat in 2022, even though the coronavirus pandemic might have played a role as well.

The country has put in place strict heatwave guidelines after an estimated 15,000 people died during the disastrous summer of 2003.

France is hosting the Olympic Games in Paris from July 26 to August 11, and experts say a blistering summer could spell trouble for organisers.

Scientists have warned that climate change poses an existential threat to life on Earth, pointing to extreme weather events that are hitting more ferociously than before.

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