The forgotten lessons of Chicago's deadly 1995 heatwave

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A detailed “social autopsy” by sociologist Eric Klinenberg examined the heatwave that killed more than 700 people in the American city during one week in July 1995. According to the American academic it was the existence of strong social ties and urban vibrancy that helped stop more people from dying, and not free phone helplines such as the French authorities are issuing to help people in the heatwave currently suffocating France and other parts of Europe. Mediapart's environment correspondent Jade Lindgaard reports on the lessons for the rest of the world from Chicago's devastating heatwave 27 years ago.

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A heatwave headquarters staffed with professional nurses, extra ambulances laid on, dozens of cooling centres swinging into action, agreements with taxi firms to ferry the elderly to cool areas, outreach staff employed to go door-to-door to help people in need …