In the course of August, it became clear that the heat was taking its toll mainly on the youngest. This was first apparent from figures from Paris and then from London, and on 24 August Het Handelsblad reported that this was also the case in Antwerp. The newspaper linked the high child mortality to the quality of milk. The heat and drought, and the resulting lack of animal feed, had made milk scarce and expensive.
Research by the demographer Godelieve Stroobant confirms that the heat of 1911 took a heavy toll, and that young children were the main victims. She estimates that in 1911 there were about 9,000 more deaths in Belgium than expected and the majority of them, more than 6,000, were young children. Many of them died with symptoms of stomach flu (gastroenteritis), partly due to the lack of milk and water caused by the heat and drought. Her sources also reported that during the summer of 1911, a large number of children died of gastroenteritis in and around Antwerp.
Figures from S.O.S. Antwerp support this claim. From January to June 1911, an average of 65 babies (younger than 1 year) died every month in Antwerp. During the summer months that number rose sharply, to 232 in August (graph 4.). In more than half the cases in August, intestinal complaints were noted as the cause of death, in particular stomach and intestinal inflammation or gastroenteritis. Thanks to the Antwerp data, researchers can now examine in detail to what extent the mortality during the summer of 1911 differs from that of other summers.