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Europe faces nature's wrath

By JONATHAN POWELL in London | China Daily Global | Updated: 2023-07-27 09:36

More hard days warned

People stand beside fallen trees after thunderstorms and torrential rains in Milan, Italy, on Tuesday. CLAUDIA GRECO/REUTERS

Sky News cited a wildfires expert who said poorly managed land and the effects of climate change have created "more flammable landscapes" on Greek islands.

During a debate in Parliament, Greece's Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis warned islanders and holidaymakers to prepare for at least three more hard days. "We are at war — completely focused on the fires," he said. "Over the coming days and weeks, we must remain on constant alert."

He also said climate change "will make its presence ever more felt with greater natural disasters throughout the Mediterranean region".

Firefighting planes from Turkiye joined the effort to tackle the fires on Rhodes on Monday.

Fires also swept across Portugal and Spain's Gran Canaria.

Scientists have described extreme heat as a "silent killer" taking a heavy toll on the poor, the elderly and those with existing medical conditions.

Research published this month said as many as 61,000 people may have died in Europe's sweltering heat waves last summer, suggesting preparedness efforts are falling fatally short.

The heat has also caused large-scale crop damage and livestock losses, the World Weather Attribution scientists said, with US corn and soybean crops, Mexican cattle and southern European olives all severely affected.

Residents of Milan were surveying the mess after the dramatic overnight storm and winds of over 100 kilometers per hour. "It all happened around 4 or 5 am this morning, it was very short but very intense, it knocked down several trees … with the wind gusts they took off and broke up," witness Roberto Solfrizzo, 66, told Reuters.

Agencies contributed to this story.

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