Paris is on high alert for an extreme heatwave, with officials preparing for dangerously high temperatures by opening extra pools and introducing mist machines across the city.
Temperatures are due to hit as high as 40°C this week across France, with humidity making it feel even hotter.
The capital city is going to extreme measures in an attempt to avoid a repeat of the 2003 heatwave, which resulted in the deaths of tens of thousands of people across Europe.
To prepare for the heat, officials enacted a heatwave action plan on Monday (June 24) which includes creating public ‘cool rooms’, as well as placing additional water fountains and mist machines across the city, Business Insider reports.
Devices have also been installed which convert some fire hydrants into fountains and sprinklers. Thousands of school exams have been postponed as well.
All of these measures have been put in place because the forecast temperatures are comparable to those seen in 2003, when 15,000 people died across France and hospitals and morgues became overwhelmed.
France’s national weather agency, Meteo France, said parts of the country could reach 40°C today (June 26), a temperature which is unusually high for this early in the summer.
Not only that, but the temperature could feel even higher, with humidity possibly making it feel as hot as 47°C.
As reported by The Guardian, Anne Hidalgo, the Paris mayor, said as many as eight major swimming pools would stay open after 10pm, and swimming would be allowed in the canal basin at La Villette.
The mayor also said three temporary outdoor pools would be set up in highly populated, lower-income areas of the city, which will be free to use.
Elderly people and vulnerable people living alone without contact with neighbours are a particular concern, with special phone hotlines being set up so people can ring up and get information.
June national temperature records could tumble in France and Germany this week!
Current records stand at 41.5C in France and 38.5C in Germany. #heatwave
— BBC Weather (@bbcweather) June 23, 2019
French President Emmanuel Macron said earlier this week that it is vital for everyone to be vigilant in the coming days.
He said, as per the Associated Press:
As you know, at times like these, sick people, pregnant women, infants and elderly people are the most vulnerable. So we must be vigilant with them and have prevention measures in place in order to intervene as quickly as possible.
The Health Minister of France, Agnes Buzyn, warned on Monday that even though ‘everything is ready’ in retirement homes, hospitals and transportation systems, ‘there’s always a higher mortality rate’ when people are fragile.
Hopefully everything is in place to prevent a repeat of the tragic events in 2003.
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A Broadcast Journalism Masters graduate who went on to achieve an NCTJ level 3 Diploma in Journalism, Lucy has done stints at ITV, BBC Inside Out and Key 103. While working as a journalist for UNILAD, Lucy has reported on breaking news stories while also writing features about mental health, cervical screening awareness, and Little Mix (who she is unapologetically obsessed with).