Europe, Asia and North America are still suffering from extreme heat on Wednesday in several regions, sometimes plagued by violent Forest firesas in Greece, where hundreds of firefighters engaged in “a huge battle” against the flames.
From California to China, authorities have warned of the health dangers of these temperatures.
In Geneva, the Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO) warned that “extreme heat is hitting hardest those least able to manage its consequences, such as the elderly, infants and children, as well as the poor and homeless. It also puts increased pressure on health systems.”
According to the European observatory Copernicus, the first 15 days of July were the hottest 15 days on record, and July is on track to become, globally, the hottest July in history.
In Europe, several regions have been placed on red alert due to the “extreme danger” induced by these temperatures.
Hundreds of firefighters are fighting fires in the Canary archipelago and especially in Greece, where for the third consecutive day, “a huge battle” against the flames is being waged west of Athens and on the tourist island of Rhodes, according to the Minister for Climate Crisis and Civil Protection, Vassilis Kikilias.
Winds of up to 60 km / h blowing over part of the country are fanning the fires, and a new heat wave is expected there from Thursday, with temperatures which could reach 44 ° C on Friday and Saturday.
Reinforcements will be sent from Romania, Slovakia and Poland as part of European mutual aid, announced Yannis Artopios, spokesman for the Greek firefighters.
One hundred and forty-nine Polish firefighters, aboard forty-nine vehicles, left Poland for Greece on Wednesday, officials said.
In Greece, despite evacuation orders in some localities, some residents refused to leave their homes.
” I do not go. I started building this house when I was 27. I will stay here at least to watch it burn,” Dimitris Michaelous told Agence France-Presse, in the town of Pournari, northwest of Athens.
The “Charon” heatwave
After Cerbère, it is the heat wave Charon, named after the smuggler of the Underworld, which envelops the northern Mediterranean coast.
In the south of France, records have been broken, mainly at altitude in the Alps (east), the Pyrenees (west) and the island of Corsica, the meteorological services announced. These records are 8°C to 11.9°C above normal for the season.
In Spain, “you can’t be on the street, it’s horrible, horrible, horrible”, lamented Lidia Rodriguez, 29, in Madrid. “As I am from Seville, I am used to the heat, but there, we are suffocating”, testified the vacationer to Agence France-Presse.
According to the Spanish Meteorological Agency, temperatures reached 45.3°C on Tuesday in Figueres, Catalonia (northeast), and 43.7°C in the Balearic Islands.
In Italy, 20 cities are placed on red alert. In Rome, the mercury reached 40°C, just below the local record of 40.5°C from August 2007.
Tuesday, early afternoon, the highest temperature recorded in Italy – which holds the heat record in Europe with 48.8 ° C measured in Sicily on August 11, 2021 – was 44 ° C in Ragusa, in this same Mediterranean island.
“In Naples, with the suitcases, you can do ten minutes, after you are dead”, assured AFP Erica Levler, 24, a Roman student on vacation in this city in the south of the Boot. “It’s a little better here, because there is the sea. In Rome there is no sea.”
The UN has called on the world to prepare for ‘more intense heat waves’inviting everyone to prepare their own “fighting plans” to face these extreme temperatures day and night.
With AFP offices around the world