Emergency declared on Greek island in 50C heatwave due to water shortage

The Greek island of Leros has been hit by water supply issues in 50C heat
-Credit: (Image: Getty)

The government has proclaimed a 'state of emergency' on the Greek island of Leros due to a critical water shortage amidst a deadly heatwave which has killed six tourists, as reported by CNN Greece. The General Secretariat of Civil Protection announced that the state of emergency would remain in place until July 25.

The decree, penned by General Secretary Vassilis Papageorgiou, said: "We decide to declare a State of Civil Protection Emergency of the Municipality of Leros of the Regional Unit of Kalymnos of the South Aegean Region, for the management of the consequences that may arise from the occurrence of water shortage phenomena in the above area."

Local officials in Leros have laid the blame squarely on their predecessors, criticising them for neglecting vital maintenance on the Desalination Units intended to mitigate water supply challenges.

Amidst a gruelling heatwave, Greece is also grappling with its repercussions, including the tragic deaths of six tourists. This includes individuals such as TV doctor Michael Mosley who tragically died whilst hiking on the island of Symi.

There has been a spate of deaths and disappearances of tourists during the unusual June heatwave, with many of the victims going missing while out on walks, highlighting the dangers of exposure to temperatures of 40C or more.

Compounding the woes are wildfires exacerbated by the fierce conditions, leading to mandatory evacuations in six villages or settlements near Anavyssos, close to Athens, and in the southern Peloponnese, reports the Express.

There were no immediate reports of injuries or property damage, and firefighters on the ground were assisted by water-dropping aircraft. The greater Athens region was on the top wildfire emergency footing on Friday because of the weather forecast, with bans on entering forests and parks.

The Greek government has implemented a range of safety measures as the nation is currently battling with skyrocketing temperatures, which have surpassed 50C. Owing to the weather forecast, the greater Athens region was put on high alert for wildfires, with restrictions placed on entering forests and parks.

In response to these conditions, the City of Athens has introduced measures to aid both citizens and tourists. Athens has opened air-conditioned spaces, providing medical advice and support, and increased fire patrols in the capital's major parks and forests. Brits abroad can get advice and support for tourists and residents at https://coolathens.cityofathens. gr/en/, a website in English and Greek.

A cutting-edge mobile application, Extrema, has been developed to deliver live updates on daily temperature readings and heat classifications, complete with advice on appropriate precautions. The app showcases the nearest 'cool spots' such as fountains and parks, suggests the coolest walking paths via shaded, tree-lined streets, and provides updates on local air pollution levels, enabling users to assess and mitigate health risks.

The state of emergency comes as 13 crew members of a luxury superyacht face arraignment on Wednesday to testify in connection with arson-related charges after firing several rounds of fireworks over the popular holiday island of Hydra late Friday, causing a massive forest fire and razing the island's only pine forest.

If intent is established, according to judicial officials, then the accused – 9 men and four women – may each face up to 20 years in prison and stiff fines of 200,000 euros.