Madrid [Spain]: Spain’s Ministry of Health reported on Wednesday that 679 people had lost their lives in the first eight days (July 10-17) of the second heatwave that hit the country this summer.
The Carlos III Health Institute (ISCIII) said that 169 deaths occurred on July 17 alone. According to the institute, 430 of the 679 victims were aged 85 or over, 159 were between 75 and 84 years of age and 58 were between 65 and 74 years.
The second heatwave of the summer ended with slightly lower temperatures on Tuesday, but this promises to be a brief respite, with temperatures expected to exceed 40 degrees Celsius again in much of the country before the weekend.
The first heatwave of 2022 in Spain lasted from June 11 to June 17 and caused 829 deaths, the institute said. Accordingly, a total of 1,508 people have died in the country this summer due to the excessive heat.
Several French towns record high temperatures amid heatwave
France recorded the highest-ever temperatures on Monday as the country continues to battle wildfires burning in its southwestern region of Gironde, CNN reported.
According to the national meteorological service Meteo France, the town of Cazaux recorded 42.4 degrees Celsius (108.3 degrees Fahrenheit), the hottest it has ever seen since its weather station first opened more than 100 years ago in 1921.
Several cities in France including Nantes and Brest have also seen their records updated by the heatwave on Monday.
Nantes witnessed 42 degrees Celsius (107.6 degrees Fahrenheit) and Brest 39.3 degrees Celsius (102.7 degrees Fahrenheit), CNN citing Meteo France reported.
However, temperatures in the west are expected to be lower on Tuesday compared to Monday as the center of the heatwave moves toward the center and east of the country. Paris is expected to reach 39 degrees Celsius (102.2 degrees Fahrenheit) Tuesday.
Meanwhile, Britain’s Network Rail advised people not to travel on Tuesday due to extreme heat. Spain suspends train services between Madrid and Galicia due to fire near tracks.
Wildfire in northern Athens forces evacuations
A massive wildfire broke out Tuesday in the northern suburbs of Athens, damaging homes and forcing evacuations of local communities.
“So far, the operational center of the National Center for Emergency Care has not received calls for injuries or respiratory problems due to the fire,” Fire Service spokesperson Ioannis Artopoios told a televised emergency press briefing.
He said it had been a difficult day, as smoke blanketed part of the Greek capital. After sunset, sparkling flames were visible from Piraeus port and Evia island. According to Greek meteorologists, strong winds up to 8 on the Beaufort scale hampered firefighting efforts. In addition, the fire was blazing on two fronts, Greek national broadcaster ERT reported.
Altogether 420 firefighters, 15 waterbombing aircrafts and nine helicopters have joined the rescue operation, Artopoios announced.
Thousands of residents from four communities at the foothills of Pentelikon mountain have been evacuated after their houses were engulfed in flames, said sources with the Fire Service. The exact number of damaged homes is yet unknown.
Greece reports wildfires almost every summer due to heat waves or arsons. Last year, a series of blazes scorched over 100,000 hectares of forests and farmland and damaged some 2,000 homes and businesses in several parts of the country. In 2018, the country’s worst-ever fire disaster killed 102 people in the coastal resort Mati, near Athens.
This year, under a European pilot program to protect forests from fire, 200 firefighters from six countries across Europe including Bulgaria, France, Germany, Romania, Norway and Finland are positioned in Greece until September to assist in its fire prevention and rescue operations. Romanian firefighters were battling the blaze alongside the Greeks on Tuesday. (ANI/Xinhua)