France recorded 400 excess deaths due to August heat wave

Paris, Sept 13 (EFE).- France registered 400 more deaths, a 5,4% increase, than the usual average during the August heatwave, especially in the country’s southern half, sources from the French health services indicated on Wednesday.

The excess mortality, which includes all types of causes, mainly affected “people over 75”, according to a report prepared by Santé Publique France (SPF), the state agency in charge of health surveillance.

The excess mortality figure refers to the 52 departments – out of 101 in metropolitan France – affected by the heat wave between August 11 and 26.

These territories account for 46.3% of the population of France. 19 departments were on red alert due to heat, the highest level of meteorological risk, in four different regions: Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, New Aquitaine, Occitania, and Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur.

“The impact on mortality varied from one department to another, depending in particular on the duration (number of days) of the heat wave and the intensity (temperature) of the episode,” SPF indicated.

“The regions with the highest departmental excesses were Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, with 169 extra deaths (+7.3%), and New Aquitaine, with 120 (+9.5%). The relative excess observed in the departments in red alert (+5.5%) is comparable to the relative excess in the other departments (+5.3%)”, the health agency pointed out.

The report’s conclusions do not summarize the effects of heat on the health of the French population, which has been exposed to several heat waves this summer.

“Heat is a health risk, even outside of heat wave periods, and it is necessary to implement management and prevention measures to reduce the impact of heat on the population,” stressed the national health agency.

An overall assessment of the health impact of the different heat waves and “more generally, the exposure of the French population to extreme heat in the summer of 2023” will also be published. EFE


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