The French Public Health Agency (SPF) indicated in a press release that according to its preliminary estimates, there would have been “nearly 400 additional deaths, an increase of 5.4 percent” during the August heatwave. which hit the country.

The press release published Wednesday reports the end of summer heatwave – the third of the summer – which lasted from August 11 to 26 in France, affecting 52 of the 96 departments of the metropolis.

During the 15-day period, 19 French departments were placed on red alert, the highest alert level issued by Météo France, France’s national weather forecasting service.

Some French regions experienced higher levels of excess mortality than others: the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region recorded 169 more deaths than it would have done in a non-heatwave period. Nouvelle-Aquitaine (which contains Bordeaux) recorded 120.

SPF reported that the equivalent of 46.3 percent of the French population lived in an area affected by the August heatwave and noted that “people aged 75 and over constituted the lowest age group more affected.”

They added that no fatal workplace accidents were reported during the heatwave.

Compared to the first and second heat waves, the third experienced a higher level of excess mortality. During the heatwave from July 7 to 13, public health authorities counted 80 more deaths than in non-heatwave periods and two fatal work accidents.


During the second heatwave, from July 17 to 26, there was “no excess mortality at the national level”.

SPF nevertheless specifies that the results are still preliminary and that the estimate of the number of excess deaths “does not reflect the entire impact of heat on health”.

Later this fall, French public health authorities are expected to publish a consolidated assessment showing the full health impacts of extreme heat and the level of exposure of the French population during the summer of 2023.

During the entire summer of 2022 – which was marked by three heatwaves – the SPF recorded 2,816 additional deaths. During the heatwaves of 2022, emergency room visits doubled.


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