Greek authorities are taking stringent measures to combat the heatwave instigated by the hot air from Africa. Patrols for inspection of speculative fires and observe the maintenance of infrastructure have been put into action, reported the Associated Press.
Officials also stated that these additional measures are important to speculate the capacity of water and power sources as the increased use of air conditioning has strained the energy resources of the country.
As this heatwave is expected to last for more than a week, an emergency meeting was held on Friday in the headquarters of the Civil Protection Secretariat in Athens to discuss the necessary precautions.
Temperatures in Greece and nearby countries in southeast Europe are expected to climb to 42 degrees Celsius (107.6 F) in many cities and towns on Monday and would calm down only after a week.
Theodoris Kolydas, director of Greece’s National Meteorological Service said “This is a dangerous weather phenomenon. We have been saying it from the start of the week.
The conditions will be stubborn and only subside gradually… very hot air masses from the shores of Africa are heading toward our region.”
The minister of Citizens’ Protection Michael Chrysochoidis, along with the Alternate Minister of Civil Protection and Crisis Management Nikos Chardalias, headed the meeting along with the presence of high-ranking officials.
“Altogether, the state, local governments, private sector, and citizens will work together to prevent unpleasant situations,” Chrysochoides said.
Workers who have to face the heat most such as construction workers and manual laborers would be given more amount of breaks next week between midday and 4:00 p.m.
The labor ministry also instructed the employers to provide water and air-conditioned rest areas say the report.
Civil protection chief Nikos Hardalias raised his concerns about climate change which he believes is at the root of these fires. “On average (in mid-summer), we are dealing with about 50 fires per day, and many of those are under difficult conditions.
That number is clearly increasing each year. It’s a phenomenon that’s gradually getting worse. Climate change is now a climate threat. I say it everywhere I go. We all have a responsibility to protect the country,” he told private Antenna television.
According to the update by Greek Reporter.com, four mandates have been announced by the Minister to prevent a more outrageous or vulnerable situation.
- Authorities urged the people of Greece “to avoid every single activity that could cause a fire.” Moreover, along with its fire protection service, the government has also urged the Hellenic police to extend support to the firing squad.
- The Minister urged the people to consume water and electricity in a meticulous way so that the country does not experience water or power shortages. In addition, the National Health Service (ESY) has also been put on high alert for heat-related diseases and heat exhaustion or heatstrokes.
- An announcement regarding the support to vulnerable groups is to be yet to be made. Generally, all the public spaces with air conditioning stay open for poor and vulnerable people who cannot protect themselves.
- Both the private and public sector employees have to be protected against heat.
Besides this, the civil aviation department has also urged the people to avoid any not urgent travel.
The opposition leader Alexis Tsipras has requested the government to declare Monday, August 2 as a Bank holiday, so that people don’t have to go out in the extreme heat. The government has not responded to the request yet.