Fires and extreme heat turn Sicily into an oven

Fires and extreme heat turn Sicily into an oven

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Fires and extreme heat turn Sicily into an oven

Fires and extreme heat turn Sicily into an oven

Tourists collect water at a fountain in Rome. / AFP

“We are losing our history. Our identity is becoming ashes “, denounce the mayors of the areas affected by the fires in neighboring Calabria

‘Fuocoatterra’. ‘Sicilia a fuoco’. Sicilian regional newspapers had it easy to find the headlines for their front pages this Thursday on the day when the largest island in the Mediterranean reached 48.8 degrees, the highest figure ever recorded in Europe, although it has yet to be confirmed by the international scientific community. The south of Italy has been experiencing extreme temperatures all this week due to the action of an anticyclone that meteorologists have baptized with the disturbing name of Lucifer.

“Despite everything there have been no major problems. This morning we checked the pipes to make sure there were no water pressure problems in the upper part of the city and that everything was fine, “Marco Carianni, mayor of Floridia, the town of the province of Syracuse, told the local media. , southeast of Sicily, where 48.8 degrees were recorded. Fortunately, there has been no particular emergency. On the other hand, everyone was at home ».

Carianni was more concerned about the fires, which have raged in neighboring Calabria, Sardinia and western Sicily. “Thank God we cleaned public lands a few months ago and we forced them to also be done on private ones,” commented the Floridia councilor.

The fires already leave five fatalities, the last a man who lived in a rural area of ​​the province of Reggio Calabria and who died while trying to save his animals. In this territory for more than a week the surroundings of the Aspromonte National Park have been burning, endangering its ancient beech forests, declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO just a couple of weeks ago. After requesting the activation of the European aid mechanism, the Italian firefighters will receive the collaboration of three French planes to fight the fires.

Incalculable damages

We are losing our history. Our identity is becoming ashes. Our soul is burned in the midst of the general silence. The flames, the danger and the incalculable damage continue, our mountains and hills do not stop burning ”, denounced the mayor of Reggio Calabria, Giuseppe Falcomatá.

His colleague from Lentini, a town in the province of Syracuse where 46 degrees have been widely exceeded these days, has even banned leaving the house in the central hours with dogs and cats to prevent pets from being in danger from the great heat . In the provincial capital, an emergency protocol has been activated that provides for the distribution of water to the elderly and children in public places.

Although Floridia residents are used to the extreme heat in August, there are those who do not quite believe that it will reach 48.8 degrees on Wednesday. The temperature was recorded by the power station that the Sicilian Agrometeorological Information Service has on the outskirts of the town, which recognizes that the data is not subsequently verified.

“At the moment it is difficult to establish whether the temperatures in the province of Syracuse have really reached a new European record,” warned Guido Guidi, lieutenant colonel of the Military Aeronautics, whose meteorological service is the most respected in Italy. “Our stations have not recorded any figures similar to that.” The highest that the military’s thermometers have reached these days is the 44.4 degrees of the Sicilian air base of Sigonella.

Floods in Turkey

First it was fire and now water. Turkey is facing torrential rains in the north of the country that have already killed at least 17 people due to flooding. And while that happens in seven northern provinces, fires continue to plague the south, where the death toll rises to eight as the fire continues to devastate thousands of hectares.

The rains began to fall on Wednesday and yesterday rivers had already overflowed and several valleys flooded. The authorities in the area have reported that the floods have torn off bridges, destroyed power lines and caused roadblocks. Rescue teams believe that the list of fatalities will increase in the next few hours as there are at least thirteen people missing. Dozens of injuries have also been registered, including thirteen motorists who were driving on a bridge when the flooding of a river washed them away. Although the magnitude of the disaster was still unknown yesterday, the images of the affected villages show dozens of collapsed houses.