SIX thousand more people than usual died in February and March this year, new statistics show.
This equates to a 16% rise, between February 6 and March 18.
The body which did the study – Institut de la Veille Sanitaire (IVS) – did not give a reason for the rise, but it is assumed to be linked to a wave of cold that hit the country at that time.
Some areas saw temperatures drop as low as minus 18C.
Elderly people were the most affected, which may explain why the South of France – a popular retirement destination - saw the largest hikes, including 22% on the Côte d’Azur.
All regions saw rises apart from Corsica.
Apart from the cold weather, the period also saw an epidemic of gastro-enteritis, followed by one of seasonal flu.
The extent to which the different factors may have played a part is still under analysis.
This winter British people aged over women’s state retirement age can benefit from the winter fuel payment (£200-300) either if they have previously received it or if they can demonstrate “a sufficient link with the British social security system” (eg. they worked in the UK and paid National Insurance there over a substantial period).
See this month’s Connexion for more on the changed rules regarding this payment – in newsagents, or downloadable from the Back Issues section of this site for €3.25.