On Friday, flames that were raging in France, Spain, and Portugal forced the evacuation of hundreds of more people from their homes. At the same time, authorities in Europe issued health warnings for the heatwave that will continue over the next several days.
Since Tuesday, more than one thousand firemen have been working in the southwestern region of France to put out two fires that have been fuelled by the blazing heat, tinder-box conditions, and high winds. They have been aided by planes equipped to drop water bombs.
Despite a little drop, temperatures in Portugal are forecast to reach at least 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) in certain locations; five districts have been placed on red alert, and more than 1,000 firemen are working to put out 17 wildfires, according to the authorities.
The Environment Ministry of Spain said that they were assisting with the suppression of 17 wildfires around the nation.
In the meanwhile, Italy’s longest river, the Po, was severely impacted by the greatest drought in over seven decades, and in some areas it was reduced to nothing more than a trickle.
After experiencing the warmest July since 1800, Italy has declared a state of emergency along the Po river, which is responsible for almost one third of the agricultural productivity of the nation. Temperatures are projected to continue to increase over the next week.
As the searing heat sweeps across the continent, officials are concerned about the effects it will have on people’s health as well as on healthcare systems that are already being challenged by the Covid-19 pandemic. They have issued warnings that the situation will get even worse in Britain in particular.
The World Meteorological Organization predicted that the current heatwave will have a negative impact on air quality, particularly in urban areas.
At a press event in Geneva, Lorenzo Labrador, a scientific officer for the WMO, said that a stable and stagnant atmosphere functions as a lid to trap air pollutants, including particulate matter. “The atmosphere acts as a lid,”
These factors contribute to a decline in air quality as well as negative consequences on people’s health, especially those who are susceptible.
A number of hospitals in Portugal have reached capacity, according to the country’s Minister of Health, Marta Temido, who said on Thursday that the country’s healthcare system was facing a “particularly troubling” week as a result of the heatwave.
According to the data provided by Portugal’s DGS health authority, the country’s heatwave was responsible for 238 more fatalities between July 7 and July 13. According to the database maintained by the National Epidemiology Centre, during the first three days of the heatwave, Spain recorded 84 more fatalities that may be attributed to the very high temperatures.