Jul 18, 2022
A heat wave is hitting Europe. It's killed more than 1,000 people in Spain and Portugal. Wildfires are raging across the Mediterranean. At least 18,000 have had to flee their homes. The rest of the region’s inhabitants, most of whom don’t have air conditioning, swelter in 100-degree-plus temperatures.
Scientists warn these events are a result of climate change.
“With the climate crisis, this heat is part of our new normal,” said the director of the Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre. “These deadly events are now more frequent and more intense.”
Wildfires have burnt parts of Portugal, Spain, France, Greece, and Morocco. The blazes forced the evacuation of 14,000 people in southern France, 3,000 in Spain, and 1,000 in Morocco, officials said. Temperatures in Portugal have ranged between 104 degrees and 117 degrees. That led to 659 heat-related deaths in Portugal, and 350 in Spain in the past week, according to health officials in both countries.
In the UK, the national weather service announced the first-ever “extreme” heat warning for parts of the country. London was included. Temperatures in some areas are expected to reach 104 degrees this week. The previous record was set in 2019. That's when the temperature hit 101.6 degrees. The CEO of the Met Office, Britain’s weather service, called the temperatures “absolutely unprecedented.”
Most Europeans don't have air conditioning. Officials expect that to change. Air conditioning systems rely on refrigerants. Those add to climate change.
Photo from Reuters.