France heat waves leave nearly 1,500 dead, health minister says

Two heat waves in France that saw temperatures soar past 100 degrees Fahrenheit this summer resulted in 1,435 deaths, according to health officials.

The European country saw 18 days of record high temperatures in June and July, according to Health Minister Agnes Buzyn, who said a public awareness campaign about the sweltering weather saved thousands of lives.

She said more than 1,000 deaths were added to the annual average for the time of the year.

Half of those who died were over 75 years old, she said.

PHOTOS FROM GREENLAND REVEAL WORRYING COST OF EUROPEAN HEATWAVE

Summer heatwaves in France have left 1,500 people dead, according to the country's health minister.

Summer heatwaves in France have left 1,500 people dead, according to the country's health minister. (Getty Images/Edward Berthelot)

Buzyn noted the number of those killed this year paled in comparison to the heat wave that scorched France in 2003, when nearly 15,000 people died.

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“The 2003 heatwave lasted 20 days," she told France Inter radio, according to Reuters. "We had 18 days in two waves and we managed to cut mortality by a factor of 10 thanks to preventative measures."

France's highest temperature this summer was 114 degrees in Gallargues-le-Montueux in the south of France on June 28. In July, Paris experienced a record high of 108.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.