- Meteorologists have warned that there is no end in sight
to a heatwave that has ravaged southeastern Europe from Greece and Turkey
to Croatia, leaving scores of people dead.
- Temperatures soaring to more than 45C (113F) have sparked
hundreds of forest fires, while trucks sinking into molten roads have
brought traffic to a standstill and caused millions of pounds of damage
in Turkey, Romania and Bulgaria. Excessive use of air conditioners has
overloaded the Greek national grid.
- Many in the region say it is the worst heat in living
memory. "It certainly looks that way," agreed Vesna Ninkovic,
of the Serbian meteorology institute. June was Serbia's hottest on record.
- Sofia, the Bulgarian capital, has recorded 39.9C (103F),
the highest temperature in 112 years. Belgrade was 40.5C (104.5F) on Tuesday,
approaching the 41.8C (107F) set in August 1921.
- In Croatia, more than 40 people, mostly elderly, succumbed
to heart attacks and other heat-related hazards in three days. In Romania
farmers working in the fields in Dolj, 140 miles west of Bucharest, were
reported to have died from dehydration. Greece, Bulgaria, Macedonia and
Bosnia also recorded heat-related deaths.
- In southeastern Turkey, a hospital said it was receiving
more than 100 people a day, a scene repeated across the Balkans. "We're
barely managing to cover all the calls," said Zeljko Skukan, an emergency
ward doctor in the Croatian capital, Zagreb.
- In Bulgaria and Yugoslavia, army helicopters were brought
in to battle forest fires, and in Bosnia the Nato-led stabilisation force,
Sfor, helped civilian firemen.
- Athens set a new consumption record of 8,300 megawatts
of electricity on Thursday, triggering a huge power cut, and in Romania
a nuclear power plant was shut after high temperatures triggered emergency
sprinklers. Much of the Yugoslavian capital of Belgrade was without water
for three days. Croatia expects crop yields to be 70% down on last year.
- Meteorologists had little reason for cheer. The high
pressure system that has trapped hot air flowing up from the Sahara desert
and the Middle East is set to stay, hemmed in by a more northerly cold
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