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3,000 to 10,000 dead in French heatwave crisis

Moms View Message Board: The Kitchen Table (Debating Board): 3,000 to 10,000 dead in French heatwave crisis
By Bea on Thursday, August 28, 2003 - 12:37 am:

"The situation has been intensified by the French tradition for holiday getaways in August, when the country virtually shuts down. "

"Hospital services in cities are often curtailed and many families leave their elderly relatives at home, on their own. "

"Authorities in Paris are trying to locate relatives of several hundred people who died in the heat wave, hoping that they will claim the bodies now held in temporary morgues. "

"They are also still trying to identify hundreds of other bodies. After September 1, unclaimed bodies will be buried, temporarily at least, in graves usually reserved for the indigent. "

"Estimates of the number of heat-related dead in France in recent weeks run as high as 10,000, following temperatures that exceeded 40 degrees C (104 F)in many parts of the country. The French government disputes that figure and says an accurate accounting should be available in a few days."

"Meanwhile, an inquiry continues into the government's handling of the crisis."

In other countries 104 degree temperatures are not uncommon. Many live with no air conditioning. Does the number of people that the French are saying have died because of a heat wave strike you as suspect?

By Dawnk777 on Thursday, August 28, 2003 - 12:49 am:

I really haven't thought about it. What do you think happened?

By Bea on Thursday, August 28, 2003 - 12:58 am:

I have no idea. The numbers just seem so crazy. I just feel that something isn't being told.

By Dawnk777 on Thursday, August 28, 2003 - 08:12 am:

That could certainly be true! The numbers sure seem awfully high.

By Marcia on Thursday, August 28, 2003 - 09:15 am:

It seems ridiculous to me. I've been in the West Indies in the summer, where the heat is unbelievable!! No air conditioning, only fans here and there. Thousands of people are not dying there.
Our heat waves reach the heights they're mentioning, and now and then someone dies from it, but that's usually someone very old or sick.
Strange story.

By Feona on Thursday, August 28, 2003 - 09:51 am:

Looks like the heat wave killed

20,000 in Europe. From Cnn and other news orgs.

By Feona on Thursday, August 28, 2003 - 09:54 am:

I read you couldn't buy a fan even in France during the heat wave. They sold out of fans!

By Conni on Thursday, August 28, 2003 - 11:24 am:

This is really sad to hear.

By Luv2fly on Thursday, August 28, 2003 - 06:14 pm:

This is more than 9/11 !! Wow!

By Karen~moderator on Thursday, August 28, 2003 - 06:44 pm:

Just curious, does anyone have any thoughts as to *what* could be killing all these people????

We have heat waves here, and droughts, and in the summer it's common for our heat index to be anywhere from at least 100 degress F, to 120 degrees F, depending on the actual temperature and humidity.

By Eve on Thursday, August 28, 2003 - 07:25 pm:

I read something interesting, but I don't remember where. It was talking about how France gets most of their power from Nuclear power. In the heat wave, the water from the rivers that normally cools the reactor rods is warmer and not able to cool the outgoing water that goes back into the enviroment enough to be safe for the fish and plant life, so it shuts things down some. Also, I guess the average temperature in France for right now is usually only in the 70's. So, that's why they usually never need air conditioning. Even if they did, some say the Nuclear power could not even support it. Interesting that August is the month when people take their vacations too. So, a lot of elderly family members left alone. Not sure if any of this is true or not, but interesting!

Has anyone read anything about the vineyards though? I guess this is prime weather for a good season for the grapes if the warm weather continues into September. I guess some of the vineyards are starting to harvest the grapes a bit early and are having trouble getting more help, due to the August vacations. Interesting.

How do you think we would cope with no air conditioning in any of our hospitals or office buildings in a heat wave? I bet there would be a lot more deaths here too.

By Hol on Thursday, August 28, 2003 - 11:56 pm:

Bea, I never thought of that, but you make a good point. However, in today's world of journalism, I'm surprised that someone hasn't dug up something! I admit, tho, the numbers are awfully high. I know that Europeans aren't used to the heat that we are, and very few have air conditioning. I remember, my first time in England, asking a bus driver if the bus had air conditioning. It was late July, and the bus was VERY hot, and stuffy. He said, "Yes,Love, turn the knob over your head". It was a little plastic fan!! LOL

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