France and UK on red alert due to extreme temperatures and EU average ‘at risk’ of drought

Firefighters work to put out fires in southwestern France. / France Press agency

French authorities have evacuated another 10,000 people due to fires near Bordeaux, while Brussels warns of reduced grain production due to lack of rain and the British prepare this Tuesday to exceed 40 degrees Celsius for the first time.

Western Europe is preparing for a “thermal disaster”, with record temperatures expected to reach 44 degrees in southwest France and hit 40 degrees for the first time in the UK. Authorities of both countries declared a red alert on Monday while Belgium and the Netherlands issued an orange alert due to high mercury, and Portugal, like the Galician region, was battling the advance of the fires.

The worst-case scenario for a heat wave was observed near Bordeaux, where two large fires still active forced the evacuation of another 10,000 people, bringing the number of people forced to leave their homes in the southwest to 27,000. .

François Jourand, a meteorologist at Météo France, identified the scenario hitting Western Europe as “the apocalypse of heat” while headlines in British newspapers such as The Sun: “Hotter than the desert”. It is not surprising that the UK authorities have had to activate the highest level of alert, 4, given expectations that Tuesday will be the most scorching day on record. Expected highs of 40 degrees forced the closure of schools in England while train companies appealed not to travel.

In Portugal, about 800 firefighters continue to work to extinguish four active fires in the center and north of the Portuguese country, which on Thursday broke the record temperature for July, with 47 degrees.

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The European Commission, which attributes the phenomenon to climate change, said on Monday that nearly half of the European Union was “at risk” of drought. According to the executive branch of the community, prolonged lack of rainfall will lead to reduced grain production in countries such as France, Romania, Spain, Portugal and Italy.

Sacha Woodward

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