Deadly Mediterranean wildfires kill more than 50
As Mediterranean wildfires threaten villages and holiday resorts, more than 40 people have been killed and thousands evacuated in Algeria, Italy, and Greece.
Fires also rage on Corfu and Evia islands, so Greece is preparing for more evacuation flights from Rhodes.
Temperatures are expected to rise above 44C (111F) in parts of Greece during the current long heatwave.
Thousands of people have fled Sicily and Puglia due to fires.
In many areas, firefighters are having difficulty dousing the flames and creating firebreaks because of high winds and tinder-dry vegetation.
Among the 34 victims so far is a group of ten soldiers surrounded by flames during an evacuation in the coastal province of Bejaia, east of Algiers. The worst-hit area, Bejaia, has been reported to have lost 23 people.
According to Algerian authorities, 80% of the fires have been extinguished as of Sunday, but a massive firefighting effort continues, involving about 8,000 people, hundreds of fire trucks, and some aircraft.
In neighbouring Tunisia, 300 people were evacuated from Melloula, a coastal village, due to fires.
Six of the country’s 13 regions faced an “extreme danger” of fire on Wednesday, according to the Civil Protection Ministry.
Without human-induced climate change, this month’s intense heatwave in Southern Europe, North America and China would not have been possible.
A Canadair firefighting plane crashed on the island of Evia, just north of Athens, killing two pilots. An isolated rural shack on the island was discovered to have a man’s charred remains.
Recent days have seen more than 20,000 people evacuated from homes and resorts on the island of Rhodes. More than 5,000 people flew home on more than 40 emergency flights between Sunday and Tuesday, an airport official told AFP.
There will be no departures for Rhodes from Jet2 and Tui in the coming days.
Tourism accounts for one in five jobs in Greece, and Rhodes and many other islands depend on it. Tourists should check with tour operators for updates on travel to the affected parts of Greece, according to the UK Foreign Office.
There have also been evacuations on Evia and Corfu, and a high alert has been issued for Crete, another major holiday destination.
Extreme weather events have hit Italy in contrasting ways – with deadly storms in the north and wildfires in Sicily and several other southern regions.
Fire gutted a holiday home near Palermo, killing a couple in their 70s, after the fire came close to the airport’s boundary. There was also the death of an 88-year-old woman near the city.
Cables burned in temperatures of 47.6C on Monday, leaving parts of Catania without water and electricity.
A man aged 98 was trapped by flames in his home in Calabria, just east of Sicily, and his daughter and son-in-law suffered burns trying to save him.
2,000 people were evacuated from hotels and campsites in the Foggia region, on Italy’s Adriatic coast, following a wildfire. From a national park nearby, the blaze approached Vieste.
On Tuesday, two people were killed by falling trees in the north due to the storms.
In Lombardy and other northern regions, tornadoes, hailstorms, and gale-force winds reached 110km/h (70mph). When a tree struck Chiara Rossetti’s tent at a scout camp in Brescia, she was 16, she died.
Italy is experiencing one of its most complicated days in recent decades, with rainstorms, tornadoes, and giant hailstorms in the north, and scorching heat and devastating fires in the centre and south.
According to him, he intended to appeal to the EU to increase the number of Canadair firefighting planes in its fleet.
On Wednesday morning, fires also broke out on the French Mediterranean island of Corsica. Flames were whipped up by winds of up to 130km/h (80mph) and three villages were threatened for several hours.