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France

French summer drowning death toll nears 100

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Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2013-08-05

Some 91 people - including 15 over the past weekend - have drowned on France’s beaches and waterways since the beginning of July. The authorities have called on holidaymakers to “take greater care and to be more responsible”.

Since the beginning of July, 91 people have drowned in French rivers, swimming pools and beaches, the interior ministry said on Monday.

The toll includes 15 deaths over the weekend, prompting the authorities to call on holidaymakers to “take greater care and to be more responsible”.

The French Alliance police union said on Monday that while bathers should take greater care and not swim in forbidden areas, such as city canals, there was a lack of qualified lifeguards patrolling the country’s beaches and swimming areas.

“In 2002 there were 720 uniformed police lifeguards on France’s beaches for three months over the summer,” the union said in a statement. “This summer there are only 471, and only for two months. The police can only cover a fraction of the country’s beaches.”

In 2012, 497 people drowned between June and September.

According to the National Institute for Prevention and Health Education (INPES), one in five French people (28 percent of women and 14 percent of men) cannot swim.

Date created : 2013-08-05

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