‘Apocalyptic’ heatwaves cause worst drought in 70 years and violent wildfires in Europe


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The drought in Italy has seen its largest river, the Po River, which runs 400 miles from the Piedmontese Alps to the Adriatic Sea, now 10ft below its normal level. The level is so low that a ship which sank in the Second World War has been revealed on the riverbed.

The river’s severe reduction in volume will impact food supply in Italy as the river irrigates the northern valley which is where 40 percent of the country’s food is produced.

A warning has come from the Italian Farmers Confederation about the lack of fruit and vegetables as a result of the unseasonably high temperatures of up to 36C and over three months without rainfall.

Italian twitter user @jackdaw_writes tweeted: “Terrible drought in northern Italy. Our biggest river is reduced to a stretch of sand, there is no more snow on the Alps.

“I said a lot of times how my country is so vulnerable to climate change, will this be enough to open our politicians eyes?”

Another added: “The extreme hot temperatures are causing drought in northern Italy…as some Italian journalists say: we’re witnessing the four cavaliers of apocalypse – abnormal temperatures, economic crisis, Covid and the Russia/Ukraine war.”

Italy’s Agriculture Minister Stefano Patuanelli said: “I think the declaration of a state of emergency because of the drought is inevitable.

“We have areas in Italy and in Europe that have not seen rain for months.”

Meanwhile, the Councillor for the Environment in Piedmont, Matteo Marnati warned that over the next two weeks water needs to be released from lakes and reservoirs to save rice and maize crops.

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“I’ve never seen such a drought at this time of year – our main worry used to be our river flooding, now we worry about it disappearing.”

Meanwhile, firefighters in Spain have been battling wildfires as temperatures in the south reached 42C last week.

One fire in the Castile and Leon region destroyed over 60,000 acres of pine forest, though thankfully the heatwave in the central region has subsided.

However, firefighters in northern Spain have fought multiple fires leading to the evacuation of many communities in Navarre.

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