Fire and extreme heat strike again in Europe

Fire and extreme heat strike again in Europe

The Portuguese Red Cross yesterday issued a national emergency appeal to support victims of the Pedrogao Grande forest fire, which is now said to have claimed at least 62 lives and injured more than 60 people.

Local news reports describe it as the worst fire in recent decades; the government has declared three days of mourning and sent two battalions of soldiers to assist some 2,000 firefighters.

“The dimension of this fire was such that we don’t have memory of such a human tragedy,” Prime Minister Antonio Costa.

Police said the fire probably broke out after a lightning strike on a tree and was fanned by dry, gusty winds amid the current intense heatwave affecting western Europe.

The Red Cross reports that 25 local units have been assisting with moving affected people and working with personnel from the National Institute of Emergency Medicine, as well as providing psychosocial support, water, food, bedding and blankets. The National Society says its ‘Advanced Medical Posts’ include temporary in-patient capacity.

The emergency management service of the European Union’s Earth Observation Platform, ‘Copernicus’, meanwhile, was Monday activated to map the disaster and support the relief effort in Portugal – one of three European nations, with Spain and France, where amber heatwave warnings were in effect.

Source: Reliefweb. Read full article here.
20 June, 2017