Heat waves in France caused an additional 2,816 deaths between June and August

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Heat waves in France caused an additional 2,816 deaths between June and August

More than 2,800 people would have died in France due to the strong heat waves recorded between some dates in June and August of this year. The account, released by the country’s Ministry of Health, takes into account the additional deaths -subtraction between the general deaths of these three months and the deaths of this same period in 2021.

According to the French government, the excess of deaths registered between June 14 and 22, July 9 and 27 and August 29 and 14, periods marked by very high temperatures in almost all of Europe, was 2,816. This year’s summer was the second hottest in France since 1900, which caused forest fires and a drop in the level of some water reservoirs.

At the time, by the way, French authorities implemented measures to restrict water consumption in almost all regions of the country. In addition, more than 100 municipalities were left without drinking water and depended on water trucks to supply it.

July 2022 was the second hottest month on record in France — behind only 1961 — and the summer of 2022 set a record for the number of days of extreme heat (more than 30).

Most of the additional deaths during the heatwave were recorded in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, Nouvelle Aquitaine, Occitanie and Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur regions, all in southern France and relatively closer to the sea. Mediterranean.

The elderly were the most affected. Of the total number of excess deaths in these three periods, 2,272 were people aged 75 or over.

The French government also disclosed that, between June 1 and September 15, the country recorded 10,430 deaths in excess, compared to the previous year – the number includes those deaths recorded in periods of higher temperature.

It is likely that the Covid-19 pandemic also played a role in heat-related deaths, Sante Publique France agency said. According to the agency, the virus may have increased vulnerability to heat in some people, and exposure to high temperatures may have worsened the health of some patients with the disease. In this period, France recorded 894 deaths related to Covid-19.

In early November, the WHO (World Health Organization) reported that at least 15,000 people died in Europe during heat waves. At that time, the organization highlighted Spain and Germany as the most affected countries.

“Almost 4,000 deaths in Spain, more than 1,000 in Portugal, more than 3,200 in the United Kingdom and some 4,500 deaths in Germany were recorded by health authorities during the three summer months,” said WHO regional director Hans Kluge, adding that the number could still grow, as other countries publish their reports.

High temperatures are intrinsically linked to global warming. In an interview with Sheet Also in August, climatologist José Álvaro Pimpão Silva, from the UN’s World Meteorological Organization (WMO), said that the human contribution to warming has made the occurrence of these phenomena much more likely today.

“We are absolutely outside the domain of natural climate variability. Man’s influence on warming the Earth’s surface is incomparably greater than any natural cause,” he said.

On the other hand, Silva pointed out that, according to a study by the WMO, there was a decrease in the number of deaths resulting from climate disasters. According to him, the reduction is even more significant because the number of episodes like this more than tripled, from 711 in 1970-1979 to 3,165 in 2010-2019.

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