Italy is groaning under the recent heat wave. According to data from the meteorological service of the Lazio region, 41.8 degrees were measured in the capital Rome – this is a new record. The high pressure area “Caronte” is to blame. Civil Defense volunteers distributed bottled water at tourist attractions such as the Colosseum. The many fountains were also helpful – whether with a large jet of water or, like the “Nasoni”, only with a small one. However, according to Mayor Roberto Gualtieri, you are not allowed to swim in it under any circumstances.
The 40-degree mark was also broken in parts of the southern Italian regions of Apulia, Basilicata and Calabria. 43 degrees were measured in the center of the large Mediterranean island of Sicily, and 44 degrees on the western island of Sardinia. The Italian Ministry of Health had declared the highest alert level for 20 larger cities; this Wednesday the warning applies to 23 municipalities. It means that even healthy people are threatened with negative physical effects there.
In Spain, given the most severe heat wave of the year so far, the red alert applies to the regions of Catalonia and Aragon as well as the Balearic Islands. Temperatures of up to 44 degrees are expected there. In Andujar, Andalusia, the semicircular number 45 was only missed by a tenth of a degree on Monday.
“Very high to extreme danger”
The Ministry of the Interior in Madrid spoke of a “very high to extreme” risk of fires across the country, but especially on the Canary Island of La Palma. There, the fire brigade has been fighting a large fire in a forest area since Saturday. According to the authorities, almost 3,500 hectares of land have burned so far, and around 4,000 people have had to leave their homes temporarily.
In the meantime, however, the situation has calmed down, according to the local civil defense. Because of poor air quality from the smoke, residents should reduce outdoor activities and wear protective masks. According to a health study by local and French scientists, more than 11,000 people died in Spain last year as a result of heat waves.
Also in the south-east of Europe, in Greece, the fire brigade is fighting against forest fires. A major fire raged most violently near Dervenohoria around 50 kilometers north of Athens, but it also continued to burn in the beach area in front of the capital, where numerous people had to leave their homes on Monday, as well as near the health resort of Loutraki near Corinth. A total of several hundred helpers were deployed.
Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis blamed the “climate crisis that we are living through with increasing intensity” for the recent events. In the summer of 2021, severe fires destroyed more than 100,000 hectares of forest in Greece, killing three people. In 2018, at least 100 people died in the worst fire in the country’s history in Mati near Athens.
jj/uh (dpa, afp)