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Extreme heat prompts issue of safety warnings across several countries

Originally published: Al Mayadeen on July 19, 2023 by Agencies (more by Al Mayadeen)  | (Posted Jul 20, 2023)

The summer’s heat has prompted several countries across the globe to issue safety warnings to citizens, advising them to take necessary precautions and shelter themselves from heat exposure to avoid the risk of possible heat strokes, AFP reported on Wednesday.

Millions of people across three different continents are facing the toll of the climate crisis as this summer is met with health concerns and a ravaging wave of wildfires.

While temperature records have been repeatedly broken in the U.S., Europe, and China, experts say the continued burning of fossil fuels has in great part been responsible for driving the climate crisis.

Safety warnings have been issued in France where temperature levels on Wednesday reached 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit).

Greece likewise has been experiencing a devastating wave of wildfires where two forest fires are currently raging: one in the west of Athens and one in the island of Rhodes.

“I am not leaving. I started building this house when I was 27 years old by myself,” said Dimitris Michaelous, a resident in the fire-threatened town of Pournari.

“I will stay here at least to watch it burn. I am not leaving,” he added.

China, on the other hand, has broken a 23-year-old record with 27 consecutive days of temperatures above 35 degrees Celsius (95 Fahrenheit).

“At noon, it feels like the sun is roasting my legs, it feels like my skin is burning. It (Beijing summers) wasn’t this hot before,” said 22-year-old student Qiu Yichong.

In the U.S., the city of Phoenix also broke a 49-year-old record with 19 consecutive days of temperatures of 43.3 Celsius or higher.

In Spain’s Canary Islands, forest fires have prompted emergency services to intervene to battle fires and evacuate over 4,000 residents.

In Italy, weather agencies forecasted that temperature levels in the islands of Sardinia and Sicily will surpass a continent-wide record of 48.8C recorded in Sicily in August 2021.

In the U.S., certain towns are experiencing alarmingly high-temperature levels, with the city of San Angelo, Texas, forecasted to reach 104-108F (40-42C).

“With temperatures across the area likely topping the 105 mark yet again, we implore you to continue to practice heat safety and try to stay cool,” the National Weather Service said on Twitter.

Records were also broken in Arizona where temperature levels reached 110F on Tuesday. The previous record was set in 1974 when the country recorded 18 consecutive days above that temperature.

Robert Vautard, director of France’s Pierre-Simon Laplace climate institute, told AFP that the heat waves across Europe and the globe are “not one single phenomenon but several acting at the same time.”

But they are all strengthened by one factor: climate change.

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