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Baking Balkans as heatwave set to sizzle parts of southeast Europe

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By AP
People walk by city fountains at sunset, at the end of a very warm day, in Bucharest, Romania, Wednesday.
People walk by city fountains at sunset, at the end of a very warm day, in Bucharest, Romania, Wednesday.   -   Copyright  Andreea Alexandru/Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
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Temperatures will hit as high as 43 degrees celsius in southeast Europe, as authorities issue a weather warning ahead of an expected heat wave on Thursday.

In North Macedonia, health officials have urged a pause in construction work and called for municipal-level initiatives to help the elderly and the homeless. All six of the country's administrative regions are set to be hit by the rise in temperatures.

Albania, Bulgaria, Greece, as well as parts of Romania and Serbia, will also experience high levels of heat.

In Albania's central Dimal region, temperatures reached 42 degrees celsius on Wednesday.

In the Bulgarian capital, Sofia, municipal workers handed out free bottles of water at several locations in the city.

Authorities in Athens have started providing air-conditioned spaces to the public and have advised residents to remain indoors during the afternoon.

The Greek capital has also appointed a chief heat officer, becoming the first European capital to do so. Alongside Paris, Rotterdam, Glasgow and Seville, Athens is part of a European network of cities created to combat the effects of high temperatures.

"We've been talking about global warming for decades, but we haven't talked much about heat," the new Athens officer, Eleni Myrivili, said following her appointment last week.

"I look forward to raising awareness among the citizens of Athens about the grave dangers of extreme heat and helping decision-makers take action to cool the city and protect people and their communities," she added.

Wildfires raged for a second day in southern Greece, forcing evacuations in a mountainous area outside the western port city of Patras. Smoke from the fire was visible in the centre of the city. Forest fires were also reported in Bulgaria and Albania.