Experts warn of health risks amid extreme heat scorching Europe

MADRID/ROME/GENEVA. KAZINFORM A record-breaking heatwave battering southern Europe has sparked concern among healthcare professionals over the impact of soaring temperatures on people’s health.

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) on Tuesday warned of the risks hot nights pose to people in regions where temperatures remain around 40C (104F) even after sundown, EFE reports.

«Repeated high nighttime temperatures are particularly dangerous for human health because the body is unable to recover from sustained heat. This leads to increased cases of heart attacks and death,» John Nairn, a senior extreme heat advisor to the WMO, told reporters at a Geneva press conference.

Extreme temperatures were expected to continue across much of southern Europe, with the WMO saying the heat dome was still in its early days.

Last summer, 61,672 people died from the heat, according to a recent study by ISGlobal that followed reports from Eurostat of an unusually high number of deaths linked to heatwaves in Europe.


Thirteen regions in Spain are on alert for hot weather. In Aragon, Catalonia and the Balearic Islands, a red warning of extreme risk was issued amid forecasts of up to 43C.

The temperature of the Mediterranean Sea has already reached 28C off the coast and could even rise to 30C by late July, a level normally not reached until late summer.

Italy is also in the midst of fierce heat as the powerful Charon anticyclone continues to push hot air across the peninsula from Africa.

The islands of Sicily and Sardinia could see historic highs of 47C.

Europe’s latest heatwave has even prompted German doctors to advise taking afternoon naps.

«We should orient ourselves to how people work in the heat in southern countries: get up early, work productively in the morning, and take a siesta at midday,» Johannes Niessen, the head of the Federal Association of Physicians of German Public Health Departments (BVÖGD), told RND media.

«People are not as productive as normal when it’s very hot,» he added. «Bad sleep due to warm nights can lead to additional concentration problems.»

In France, temperatures will rise Tuesday to 40C in inland regions of the French Mediterranean coast, as well as in Corsica.


The high temperatures, coupled with drought, are also fueling forest fires that are ripping through swathes of land dangerously close to towns and cities.

Such is the case of Athens, where authorities are battling three large blazes that broke out on Monday and have spread rapidly forcing the evacuation of thousands of people.

Images shared on Tuesday by Greek media show the devastation suffered in the densely populated region, with numerous houses, shops and cars burnt to the ground.

A wildfire is also tearing through La Palma, in the Spanish Canary Islands, scorching some 3,500 hectares of land and forcing the brief evacuation of thousands of people from nearby towns.

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