Officials from the island of Sicily, in southern Italy, recorded this Wednesday (11) what could be the temperature record in the country and throughout Europe. Thermometers recorded 48.8 ° C in the city of Syracuse, in the southeast of the region – until then, the highest number recorded had been 48.5 ° C, in 1999.
The figures have yet to be confirmed by the Italian meteorological service and by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), a specialized agency of the United Nations, but they already indicate the consequences of the worsening climate crisis that have been recorded in the northern hemisphere. .
In the regions of Sicily and Calabria, firefighters have carried out 300 interventions in the past 12 hours, and seven Canadair planes, which store thousands of liters of water, have been mobilized overnight to try to contain the advance fire.
The flames threaten the Aspromonte National Park, recognized by Unesco. Sicilian Governor Nello Musumeci called for the declaration of a national state of emergency.
A 77-year-old man has died in the city of Reggio Calabria from burns he suffered while trying to save his herd from the blaze. On a social network, Mayor Giuseppe Falcomata urged citizens to move away from affected areas and lamented the death. “We are losing our history, our identity is reduced to ashes, our soul is burning,” he wrote.
The wave of fires and the record temperature are recorded in the middle of the passage of the Lucifer anticyclone, one of the strongest of the summer, which is now moving north. Temperatures of 39 to 40 ° C are expected in Tuscany, in the center of the country, and in Lazio, in the region of Rome.
For several days, the flames, fed by the wind, reached the mountainous region of La Madonia and destroyed plantations, houses and commercial buildings.
The scenes of destruction recorded by Italian territory are not exclusive to the country. In recent weeks, several countries in the northern hemisphere have been plagued by forest fires and heat waves. Events considered to be common at this time of year have taken on a new dimension with the climate crisis and the worsening of global warming.
In Algeria, at least 69 people have died in the fires that have struck the country. According to the portal Tout sur l’Algerie, about twenty people were still missing on Wednesday. President Abdelmadjid Tebboune has declared a three-day national mourning from Thursday (12), and mosques will dedicate Friday prayers in memory of the victims.
In Turkey, firefighters, who had just checked what President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called the country’s worst forest fire, are now focused on mitigating the impacts of the floods.
Turkish rescuers evacuated a regional hospital on Wednesday and rescued residents stranded on rooftops after flooding off the Black Sea. Eight people were hospitalized after a bridge collapsed, and one who was swept away is still missing.
In Greece, around 900 domestic and foreign firefighters are slowly controlling the blaze on the island of Evia, which is watching the flames advance for the ninth day.
The fire is also progressing in the Peloponnese region, in the south of the country, rich in dense forests. The rains forecast for Wednesday are expected to ease the situation and help authorities control the blazes.
In mid-July, unprecedented rains destroyed communities and left at least 26 people dead in Germany. In China, dozens of people have died amid what meteorologists have called the worst rains for 60 years in Zhengzhou, capital of Henan Province, in the country’s central region.
In America, the panorama is not very different. Last Thursday (5), a large forest fire in California (USA) reduced to ruins the main avenue of the historic city of Greenville.
On Monday (9), a long-awaited report by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) showed that the climate crisis is already worsening droughts, storms and extreme temperatures.
According to the document, which supports global discussions on the subject, heat waves are already tripling in the world today compared to the period between 1850 and 1900 – before human activities increased the concentration of greenhouse gases in the world. the atmosphere.
The more rare extreme temperatures, which occurred during this period once every 50 years, are now likely to occur 4.8 times in the same period and could reach 39 times in a scenario of more than 4 ° C of global warming.