People visit the Ouwehands zoological park in Rhenen, Netherlands on Thursday. Robin/ ANP
Almost 400 people more died in the Netherlands during Europe’s recent record-breaking heatwave than in a regular summer week, Dutch national statistics agency CBS said on Friday.
In total, 2964 people died in the Netherlands during the week that started on July 22, the CBS said, which was around 15% more than during an average week in the summertime.
Temperature records tumbled across Europe during late July’s heatwave, and for the first time since records began topped 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit) in the Netherlands on July 25.
The death toll in the Netherlands during that week was comparable to the rate during two heatwaves in 2006, which were among the longest ever in the country, the researchers said.
About 300 of the additional fatalities were among people aged 80 years and older.
Most of the deaths occurred in the east of the Netherlands, where temperatures were higher and the heatwave lasted longer than in other parts of the country.
The Netherlands has a total population of around 17 million.
The heatwave was the second to hit Europe in a month, and climate specialists warn such bursts of heat may become more common as the planet warms up due to greenhouse gas emissions.
Paris was expected to see the mercury soar to as much as 41 or 42 degrees Celsius, breaking a 70-year-plus record of 40.4C (104.7 Fahrenheit) and turning the UNESCO-listed capital into a baking urban bowl.
The Met Office, Britain's national weather forecaster, said there was a 40% chance that the record of 38.5 degrees Celsius (101.3°F), set in Kent in 2003, will be broken.
A heatwave that smashed temperature records in northern Europe finally relented Friday but thousands of holidaymakers were snared in travel chaos that followed the hot weather.
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