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  • A pharmacy sign displays a temperature of 37 degrees Celsius in Marseille (South of France) in June.

    A pharmacy sign displays a temperature of 37 degrees Celsius in Marseille (South of France) in June. | Photo: Reuters

Published 8 September 2019

The Minister said the 2019 death rate is significantly lower than during the last deadly heatwave that touched the country in 2003.

France recorded 1,500 deaths this summer during the heatwave that hit the country between June and July, said Sunday Agnès Buzyn, the country’s Minister of Solidarity and Health.

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Among the people who lost their lives, "about half were over 75-years-old, but there were also adults and younger people who were affected, particularly at work," the minister said. "Around 10 people died while working," she added. These were 10 men, the majority of whom were working outside.

Buzyn said the 2019 death rate is significantly lower than during the last deadly heatwave that touched the country in 2003.

The ministry considered that "the prevention campaigns must improve" in the field of work, particularly in the most exposed sectors of activity such as the construction and agriculture fields. 

The general mobilization made it possible to avoid the clogging up of health services the minister further said. She also welcomed the mobilization of the workers on the ground, including the nurses who went to the elderly’s houses to help them hydrate themselves, the providers of home care services and the municipalities who mobilized to contact isolated elderly people. 

This year's heatwaves stroke France with a record temperature of 46 degrees Celsius registered in the south of the country on June 28.

While the 2003 heatwave lasted 20 days in all, this year's lasted for 18, in two separate heatwaves, the second covering a large part of France, Buzyn added.

In 2003, the heatwave killed at least 15,000 people, it is the deadliest heatwave that the European country has ever experienced. 

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