After a long period of heat and drought, countless wildfires broke out in Turkey, Greece and Italy. With the help of firefighting aircraft and firefighting forces, countries are supported by the European Union in fighting fires.
Greece: A heat wave and a prolonged drought hit the country in June. Since then, fires have broken out on the islands of Kefalonia and Ibua as well as on the mainland. On Sunday, a large fire in the Peloponnese peninsula was brought under control with heavy use of firefighting planes and helicopters. Fires have also been contained in Rhodes, but the risk of fire remains.
For now, there is still a lot of heat. The Athens Meteorological Office expects temperatures to reach at least around 44 degrees until the end of next week. The “historic heat wave” also puts the performance of the Greek energy system to the test. For this reason, citizens of Greece are encouraged not to set the air conditioning systems below 26 degrees.
According to doctors, the dangerous thing about this heat wave is that the values do not fall below 30 degrees even at night and therefore the body cannot recover from the heat.
Temperature record from 1977
The city of Eleusis, which is about 30 kilometers west of Athens, recorded a record temperature of 48 degrees Celsius in 1977. This is the highest temperature ever measured in Europe.
The current heat wave in Greece is compared to the high temperatures and duration of the heat wave of 1987. At that time, according to estimates, more than 4,000 people died in Greece after several days with temperatures above 40 degrees.
Italy: The holiday island of Sicily was particularly hard hit by the fires at the weekend. In the east of the island around the city of Catania, the fires have also caused extensive damage to beach holiday complexes. Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi signed a decree on Sunday allowing more firefighters from other regions to be sent to Sicily.
Fabio Corsio, head of the Civil Protection Authority, requested European assistance on Monday. He applied to activate the European mechanism through which, for example, firefighting aircraft from other EU countries could come to Italy to provide support. The fire brigade reported more than 1,500 missions nationwide as of Sunday evening.
The fires also affected public transportation. Many passengers had to spend the night on Monday at Bologna Central Station, as many trains to southern Italy and the Adriatic Sea were canceled due to the fires.
Turkey: Turkey has been locked in several fires since Wednesday. According to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, 129 fires broke out on Sunday evening, 122 of which were under control. The European Union provides fire trucks from Spain and Croatia, and 100 firefighters are working from Azerbaijan.
The areas on the western and southern coasts of the Turkish Mediterranean are particularly affected. Many residents of the holiday areas of Bodrum and Antalya had to leave their homes for the weekend. Several places in Antalya and Mugla provinces have also been evacuated, including the Turunc resort in Marmaris.
President Erdogan said at the weekend that children had caused a fire near Bodrum. The authorities are also investigating arson and arrest. So far, eight people have died as a result of the fires.
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