AS the UK continues to grapple with the heatwave, we look at how some of the hardest-hit countries in Europe are dealing with the crisis.


With over 14000 people evacuated from the Southwest of France where fires continue to rage, having burned almost 11000 hectares of land as of 17 July, 15 of the country’s 101 departments have been placed on red alert because of the heatwave, while another 51 are on orange alert.

As of Monday, a further 8000 people are also being “pre-emptively” evacuated from two districts in La Teste-de-Buch because of fire, with more than 1500 firefighters and water-bombing planes currently attempting to halt the blaze tearing through the region’s pine forests.

Monday also saw the announcement that the city of Paris would keep the majority of its parks open until midnight and create cooled rooms for the public in anticipation of temperatures nearing 40°C on Tuesday. Coupled with the 1200 drinking fountains already operating in the capital, 35 prototype fountains and roughly 50 misters have also been put into use after being connected to fire hydrants.

Authorities will be contacting the approximately 10,000 vulnerable people registered throughout the city and have drafted in doctors and volunteers to help cope with possible heatwave-related health emergencies.

Looking beyond the present crisis, French Green senator Melanie Vogel wrote on Twitter: “This is not just summer – this is just hell and will pretty soon become just the end of human life if we continue with our climate inaction.”


Spain is also grappling with over 30 fires across the country, having faced temperatures of over 40°C for the past week. As of Monday, the entirety of Spain remains at “extreme risk” of fire. 14000 hectares have been destroyed, including almost half the wooded area of Sierra de Culebra in the northwest – now officially the biggest fire in Spanish history.

While Spanish media has reported 360 heat-related fatalities in Spain between July 10 and July 15, the Spanish Government’s Carlos III Health Institute has indicated the heatwave has killed over 800 people during the last month.

The city of Seville has become the first city in the world to name and categorise heatwaves in a similar manner to hurricanes, in the hope of raising awareness of the dangers posed by extreme heat and what precautions people should take.


The Italian Government has declared a state of emergency throughout much of the north, where in the Piedmont region, over 170 municipalities are either planning or have already implemented ordinances on water consumption, restricting use for anything other than food, domestic use and healthcare.

This follows the Po River, the longest in Italy, hitting record low water levels. On 16 July, Bishop Enrico Solmi held a mass on the banks of the river in honour of the plight of those affected, ending with a prayer for rain, which has not fallen on the Po for over 200 days.

Under Italian law, citizens can refuse to work if it is too hot, a right which has gained increased popularity in the UK and elsewhere since the advent of the heatwave.


The heatwave has caused severe drought throughout Portugal, while the nation’s Health Ministry reported on 16 July that 659 people, most of them elderly, have died from causes related to the heat over the prior week.

While the Portuguese Government did lower the national alert level on 17 July slightly due to improved weather conditions which may result in a drop of eight degrees over the coming week – allowing farmers to harvest summer crops in the early morning or evening – Portuguese Prime Minister António Costa nevertheless warned on Monday that the country had “no time to lose” in combating climate change, and stressed the need to invest in renewable energy.