A heat wave baking southeast Europe has fueled deadly wildfires in Turkey and threatened the national power grid in Greece as governments scrambled Monday to secure the resources needed to cope with the emergency.
Temperatures reached 45 C (113 F) in inland areas of Greece and nearby countries and are expected to remain high for most of the week.
Battling deadly wildfires along its coastline for a sixth day, Turkey broadened an appeal for international assistance and was promised water-dropping planes from the European Union. The fires have been blamed for the deaths of eight people in recent days.
The help for residents in Turkey’s fire-ravaged areas couldn’t come soon enough. At the coastal village of Bozalan, resident Esra Sanli looked over at the blaze.
“It’s burning. It’s obviously burning. There’s no plane, there’s no helicopter, there are no (access) roads,” she said, sobbing. “How is this going to be extinguished? How?”
In Greece, an emergency was declared in fire-hit areas on the island of Rhodes, which is near the Turkish coast. Workers with health conditions were allowed to take time off work, while Greek coal-fired power stations slated for retirement were brought back into service to shore up the national grid, under pressure due to the widespread use of air conditioning.