France Releases New Heatwave Plan As Temperatures Rise
- France Releases New Heatwave Plan As Temperatures Rise
Paris (AFP) Jun 22, 2005
France was on a heatwave alert Wednesday as the government released
its new emergency plan to avoid a repeat of the nearly 15,000 deaths
attributed to the scorching temperatures of summer 2003.
As the mercury climbed above 30 degrees Celsius (86 F) in parts of
France during the past two days, Health Minister Xavier Bertrand
Wednesday released the new heatwave plan including measures to
bolster emergency services and to care for elderly people living on
The plan also released an extra 26 million euros (31.5 million
dollars) for supplementary hours for nurses working in people's homes
and to recruit temporary staff in retirement homes.
The minister has put in place a level three heatwave alert, under the
four level emergency plan, in the central eastern Rhone region and
level two in seven other regions of the country.
French meteorologists have warned there is a probability of a hot
summer this year with temperatures predicted to be on average two
degrees above normal.
An estimated 30,000 people died in Europe during the 2003 heatwave
with 14,847 deaths in France, the majority elderly, between the
August 4 and 18.
During the heatwave temperatures rose above 40 degrees Celsius during
the day and remained high during the evenings.
Emergency services were overwhelmed during the disaster, forced to
leave dying patients on stretchers in the corridors of hospitals.
Funeral parlours could also not cope, particularly in the Paris
region where bodies had to be stored in refrigerated trucks.
There was a subsequent public outcry about the government's slow
response to the disaster.