When you see the Katrina reaction stories from Europe, with the usual European tut-tutting about our alleged indifference to the poor and the downtrodden, etc., keep this in mind: In the summer of 2003, at least 15,000 mostly elderly people died of heatstroke and other heat-related causes in France.
Here are relevant portions of an AP story that moved at the time:
"The worst-hit country was France, which on Thursday reported a staggering heat-wave death toll of 14,802."
"In France, authorities placed part of the blame on inadequate care for the elderly and absence of medical personnel in August, a traditional vacation period when residents leave cities and doctors are hard to find. As temperatures soared in the first two weeks of August, elderly victims -alone at home without air conditioning or at overwhelmed nursing homes and hospitals - began to die of heat stroke, dehydration and other heat-related maladies at alarming rates."
They didn’t even have a hurricane or flood to blame. The elderly victims died because everybody else went on vacation and left them to fend for themselves.
Grandma est mort? Quel dommage! But regardez, mon ami, the great tan I got at the beach!