Italy, Greece and Turkey are still suffering from severe heat wave and wildfires. Italian firefighting teams have recorded more than 800 fires in the past 24 hours. In the northwest of the Greek peninsula of Peloponnese, five villages have been evacuated today. At least 16 people were injured. In the Turkish holiday region of Bodrum, people were transported to safety by sea by boat.
In the past 24 hours, firefighters have carried out more than 800 interventions: 250 in Sicily, 130 in Puglia and Calabria, 90 in Lazio, and 70 in Campania.
Italy has been hit by a big heat wave in recent days with temperatures reaching 40 degrees in Apulia and 39 degrees in Sicily. The heat and lack of rain have triggered numerous fires, one of which destroyed more than 20,000 hectares of forests, olive groves and crops in the Oristano region of western Sardinia late last week. According to the authorities, some fires were started.
As the south burns the land, the north experiences severe thunderstorms and hail.
The fire destroyed at least twenty houses in the city of Patras. Today, 300 firefighters, 77 cars, two planes and five helicopters are still working to fight the bushfires. Most of the fires are now under control. The fire broke out yesterday near Patras, 210 kilometers west of the capital, Athens.
Hospitals in Patras and Ijeu today have been asked to prepare for possible injuries from wildfires. According to the latest data released on Sunday, 16 injured people have already been hospitalized.
The highways are closed
Several highways in the area have been closed. No traffic is allowed on the Rio Antrio bridge, which connects the Peloponnese to the Greek mainland.
Due to drought and heat, wildfires occur in Greece every summer. According to meteorologists, the country is currently experiencing a “historic and prolonged heat wave”, with temperatures ranging between 42 and 44 degrees. Greeks don’t have to rely on cooling right now. Local temperatures are expected to be around 45 degrees on Sunday. It also stays hot at night. Especially in urban areas, the mercury sometimes does not drop below 30 degrees.
The situation in Turkey
Thousands of aid workers have battled massive forest fires in Turkey for the fifth consecutive day. The Russian Consulate General in Antalya said that last night, 100 Russian tourists were evacuated from the eastern suburb of Bodrum. They have been moved to new hotels. NTV reported that another village in Antalya province was evacuated on Sunday.
Turkey is dealing with the worst forest fires since Wednesday. Forestry Minister Bekir Bakdemirli said today that five out of 100 fires are still raging. There are still hot spots in the southern and western provinces of Antalya and Mugla. Strong winds blow over fires and make it difficult for firefighters to fight the flames.
Official figures say the fires have claimed at least six lives so far – five in Antalya and one in Marmaris. Hundreds of people were injured.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan visited the affected areas last night. He assured the victims that help would arrive soon. For example, additional firefighting aircraft have been deployed thanks to the help of Russia, Iran and Ukraine. In addition to 16 firefighting aircraft, 45 firefighting helicopters, drones and thousands of relief workers have also been deployed, according to Erdogan. The Turkish government has been criticized for not having any of its own firefighting aircraft.
According to the president, children caused a fire in Marmaris. An investigation has been opened into the cause of the other fires. Arson is not excluded.
Meteorologists are already talking about a “historic heat wave”. Municipalities have opened up air-conditioned buildings for those wishing to escape their sweltering homes. Authorities warn that the ongoing drought continues to increase the risk of fires.
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