Europe faces record temperatures and health warnings as heatwave hits

A woman protects herself with a hand-held fan from the sun in Madrid, Spain, Monday, July 10, 2023.
A woman protects herself with a hand-held fan from the sun in Madrid, Spain, Monday, July 10, 2023. Copyright Manu Fernandez/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved.
By Philip Andrew Churm with AFP
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Much of Europe is forecast to face the hottest temperatures ever recorded as a heatwave strikes and officials issue health warnings


Fires have continued to rage in the forests on La Palma in the Canary Islands, with 5,000 hectares destroyed in recent days and 4,000 people evacuated.

Little reprieve is forecast for Spain, where the met agency warned of a new heatwave for the first half of the week taking temperatures above 40C in the Canary Islands and the southern Andalusia region.

Climate Applications Scientist at European Space Agency, Clement Albergel, says: "For July for next week we see another heatwave reaching southern Europe with even higher temperature. And that's really an impact on climate change, on heatwave. 

"We increase the likelihood of sequential heat waves and it's becoming more and more difficult to cope with this frequent succession of heatwaves."

Predictions of historic highs in the coming days led the health ministry in Italy to sound a red alert for 15 cities including Rome, Bologna and Florence, signalling a high level of risk for older adults, infants and other vulnerable people.

François Mbemba, a priest from Democratic Republic of the Congo visiting Rome said: "It's been very hot here since we arrived. We're finding it hard to get used to it, especially as we've only just arrived and we've realised that it's hotter here it is at home in Africa, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, for example. 

"The heat goes on well into the night and sometimes we even find it hard to sleep."

Temperatures in Rome on Tuesday are expected to be around 42C-43C and in Sicily and Sardinia they could reach as high as 48C. the European Space Agency warned: "Potentially the hottest temperatures ever recorded in Europe."

The official advice is to stay in doors and stay hydrated.

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