Greece swelters amid worst heat wave in 35 years

Athens, Jul 30 (EFE).- Greece is immersed in a scorching heat wave that climate experts fear could become the most severe in the last 35 years, with temperatures expected to reach up to 45 degrees Celsius (113 Fahrenheit) for several days.

The heat wave comes at the beginning of the holiday season. At the port of Piraeus, long queues of passengers waited under an overwhelming sun for the coast guard to check their vaccination certificates or negative Covid-19 tests to be allowed to sail to the country’s islands.

Meteorologists expect temperatures to remain very high throughout next week. They also expect very high minimum temperatures of over 30 degrees at night.

The director of the National Meteorological Service, Theodorís Kolydás, described the heat wave as “dangerous”, adding that its peak is expected next Monday and Tuesday.

In the face of rising temperatures, several municipalities have put into operation air-conditioned rooms, open all day to protect vulnerable groups.

The Athens Medical Association urged citizens to drink plenty of water, to avoid drinking alcoholic beverages and to take cool showers frequently.

It also asked people to avoid travel during the hottest hours of the day, especially in the center of the capital, where high air pollution only adds to the stifling conditions.

At a press conference, the Minister of Citizen Protection, Mijalis Jrisojoidis, urged citizens to avoid any activity that could spark fires.

He also asked the public to use water and electricity with caution, in order to avoid power and drinking water cuts, which are common in Greece during heat waves.

In the summer of 1987, a similar heat wave lasting 11 days resulted in the deaths of around 3,000 people, 2,300 of them in Athens. EFE

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