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Unprecedented Heatwave in Greece Claims First Victim

Heatwave Greece
On Sunday temperatures will rise up to 45°C (113°F). Credit: AMNA

A Greek man died of heatstroke on Friday as a new heatwave is gripping Greece with temperatures forecast to rise up to 45°C (113°F) over the weekend.

According to an official announcement by the Chalkida General Hospital in central Greece, a 46-year-old man died after being exposed to “a very high temperature.”

“Resuscitation, CPR, and intubation were performed to no avail. Possible cause of death is cardiorespiratory arrest after exposure to a very high temperature,” says the hospital’s statement.

According to the local site, the man had ridden a bicycle for a long time in the center of Chalkida. According to his family, he was perfectly healthy.

According to an updated extreme weather bulletin issued by the Hellenic National Meteorological Service (EMY) on Friday, temperatures in Greece will reach to 44°C in some places on Friday and Saturday. On Sunday temperatures will rise up to 45°C (113°F).

What makes matters worse is that after a brief respite on Monday, another heatwave is projected to hit Greece which would last until next weekend.

The current heatwave in Greece is worse than 1987 tragedy

According to the director of the EMY, Antonis Lalos, the current heatwave is worse than the heat wave of 1987 when over 1,300 people died.

Speaking to Greek public radio ERT, he said:

“It looks like this heat wave from Africa is still tormenting us and will continue to torment us at least until next weekend. There is no visible weather system that will come from Western or Northern Europe, that will move towards the Balkans and somehow expel these hot air masses from our region.”

A broad interministerial meeting was held on Friday at the Climate Crisis and Civil Protection Ministry, chaired by the minister Vassilis Kikilias, with the aim of coordinating decision-making regarding the extreme weather conditions with very high fire risk that prevailed in Greece, which were expected to peak over the coming days.

State mechanism “ready” to deal with heatwave, fires

“We are all now aware that we will face extreme weather conditions in the next few days. The entire State mechanism will turn out, in forests, parks and cities, in order to assist the fire department,” Kikilias said.

“We are asking the citizens to assist in this effort so we can all get through the difficult days that are coming together,” the minister added, saying that everyone needs to exercise particular caution during the dangerous days ahead.

Greek authorities are warning that there is a very high (category 4) fire risk on Friday for the region of Attica, the region of Central Greece (especially Viotia and the island of Evia, the Peloponnese (Corinthia, Argolida), the region of southern Aegean (Cyclades islands), the region of the northern Aegean (the islands of Samos and Ikaria).

Authorities advise people to be exceptionally careful and avoid any activity in the open that could accidentally cause a fire, such as burning vegetation, using machinery that creates sparks, lighting barbecues, or throwing away lit cigarettes. It also reminds the public to alert the fire brigade via the emergency number 199 in the case of fire.

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