INACCURATE: The 2003 Heatwave Did Not Kill 80,000 People in Europe?

A tweet archived here claims that the 2003 heatwave allegedly killed 80,000 people in Europe and out of these, 20,000 were apparently from France.


The tweet making this claim also indicates that 2003 was supposedly the hottest year on record. Piga Firimbi debunked this claim in a fact-check published here. Globally, 2016 is the hottest year on record. In Europe, 2020 is the hottest year on record.

Information on the European Commission website indicates that nearly 90,000 people in Europe have died from heat and cold waves since 1980.


Various credible sources dispute the 80,000 heatwave death toll in 2003 as claimed in the tweet. According to the Washington Post, the 2003 heatwave killed about 70,000 people in Europe, out of which about 15,000 people died in France. Reuters also cites a death toll of 70,000 Europeans due to the 2003 heatwave.

A report by the UN’s World Meteorological Organization (WMO) states that;

“The 2003 heatwave was responsible for half of the deaths in Europe (45%) with a total of 72,210 deaths within the 15 affected countries.”

World Meteorological Organization (WMO)


The tweet claiming that the 2003 heatwave killed 80,000 people in Europe is INACCURATE.

This fact-check was produced by Africa Uncensored with support from Code for Africa’s PesaCheck, International Fact-Checking Network, and African Fact-Checking Alliance network.

Add comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *