France records hottest temperature in country's history

  28 June 2019    Read: 843
  France records hottest temperature in country

A temperature of 44.3C has been recorded in France, the hottest in the country's history.

Measured in Carpentras, a town in the south eastern region of Vaucluse, it came as the country declared a “red alert” weather warning for the first time ever amid a deadly heatwave sweeping Europe.

Elsewhere in the country volunteers scoured the streets of Paris, providing water to homeless people in a bid to avoid civilian deaths, old cars were banned from the roads in four major cities and some 4,000 schools were closed.

Teachers at the Victor Hugo Primary School in Colombes near Paris abandoned suffocating classrooms and are keeping children outside all day, spraying them with water and organising quiet activities in the shade. 

"I make them go in the playground with books, in the shade, they must stay seated," said teacher Valerie Prevost.

"We tell them to dampen their caps, to drink regularly."

Four people died in drowning accidents attributed to thermal shock, the French Ministry of Solidarity and Health said in a statement.

Some accused the government of going overboard in its reaction, but prime minister Edouard Philippe defended the efforts after 15,000 people died in a heatwave in 2003.

"This heatwave is exceptional by its intensity and its earliness," he said.

"Measures have been taken for the most vulnerable people. But given the intensity of the heatwave, it's the entire population who must be careful today ... both for oneself and for loved ones and neighbuors."  

Temperature records for June were broken across central Europe, with meteorologists blaming the continent’s extreme weather on a bubble of scorching Saharan air, high pressures across the continent and a storm stalling over the Atlantic.

Heatstroke reportedly claimed the lives of a 17-year-old boy and 80-year-old man in Córdoba and Valladolid, Spain.

The Italian Ministry of Health also issued a red alert warning in more than a dozen cities after a homeless man died of suspected heatstroke in the streets of Milan and another in the Marche region, Il Globo reported.

On Friday, firefighters were still struggling to contain wildfires that have devastated 10,000 acres of Catalonia.

In Germany, a man was fined after being caught driving a scooter naked, apparently to cool down.

And in Belgium, two English Bulldogs reportedly died after being left in a car in Mons, according to veterinarian Pascal Lafosse.


The Independent

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