Drownings, fewer this summer in France due to the weather, are more deadly

2023-08-11 15:14:02

Public Health France published its new bulletin on Friday and lists 598 drownings between June 1 and August 2, 2023, including 177 deaths.

Between June 1 and August 2, 2023, 598 people were victims of drowning, according to figures published this Friday by Public Health France. A number down from 2022 and 2021, where 724 and 797 drownings had respectively been recorded during this same period. Between 2021 and 2023, the total number of drownings is down 25% over these first nine weeks of summer.

Nevertheless, “the number of drownings remains high”, underlines the health agency.

Public Health France notes a peak in drownings observed on July 8 and 9, as well as July 15. Dates which correspond to the first two weekends of the school holidays, during which the temperatures were generally favorable for swimming.

The Occitanie region and New Aquitaine are the two regions where the most drownings have occurred since the beginning of June. They had 134 and 92 respectively.

Bad weather for swimming

In particular: the climatic conditions. Despite temperatures 2.5°C higher than normal for the season during the month of June, the weather was “generally less favorable for swimming in the southern half of the country”, explains Public Health France. However, it is in this area that drownings are generally the most numerous.

And this situation repeated itself during the second half of July, during which the climatic conditions were “generally unfavorable for swimming”, notes the report. The whole territory, with the exception of the Mediterranean rim and Corsica, experienced lower than average temperatures and heavy rainfall. Which had not been the case in 2022 and 2021, over the same period.

In addition, in 2021, the year of comparison put forward by Public Health France, the climatic conditions favorable to swimming, combined with the lifting of restrictions linked to Covid-19, had contributed to the high number of drownings. The health agency then questioned “a poor understanding of physical abilities or a deterioration in the state of health at the end of a long period of less activity”.

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Death rate on the rise

With 177 deaths in total out of the 598 drownings recorded between June 1 and August 2, 2023, the number of deaths remains generally stable compared to the two previous years.

Nevertheless, the proportion of drownings followed by death increases, from 22% in 2021 to 30% in 2023. “Drownings are fewer but more fatal”, summarizes Public Health France, since a third of drownings are now followed. one death, compared to a quarter in 2021.

These deaths mainly concern adults, for nine out of ten cases.

These figures are set to change in the coming weeks, since Public Health France updates its results throughout the summer.

The health agency also stresses the importance of continuing prevention with all audiences, of maintaining permanent surveillance of young children and of taking into account recommendations related to weather conditions before swimming in the sea.

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