Two die as ‘record-breaking’ 40C heatwave grips Greece, Cyprus and Turkey with red alert issued

17 June 2024, 07:56 | Updated: 17 June 2024, 08:45

An 84-year-old woman died a day after being admitted to hospital on Friday
An 84-year-old woman died a day after being admitted to hospital on Friday. Picture: Getty

By Flaminia Luck

Holidaymakers heading to Cyprus, Greece or Turkey have been issued a warning as temperatures soar amid a heatwave.

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A Cyprus health official said a second elderly person has died from heatstroke after a weeklong heatwave that baked the east Mediterranean island nation with reportedly record temperatures for the month of June.

An 84-year-old woman died a day after being admitted to hospital on Friday, said State Health Services Organisation spokesman Charalambos Charilaou.

He said another three elderly patients are in a serious condition.

Temperatures on the island have soared all week, exceeding 40C (104F).

The high temperatures and strong winds have also hampered firefighting efforts, including in a mountainous area south-west of the capital, Nicosia, where more than 1.2 square miles (3.2 sq km) of forest were scorched, threatening a village.

Last week, 49 residents in two communities in the island's western Paphos district were evacuated to hotels as a wildfire threatened their homes, while aircraft from Greece and Jordan joined the firefighting efforts.

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Smoke from a wildfire drifts over Troodos mountain near Nicosia, Cyprus
Smoke from a wildfire drifts over Troodos mountain near Nicosia, Cyprus. Picture: Alamy

A missing American tourist has been found dead on a beach on a small Greek island west of Corfu, local media reported.

The body of the man was found Sunday on a rocky, fairly remote beach on the island of Mathraki by another tourist.

He had been reported missing Thursday by his host, a Greek-American friend.

The tourist had last been seen Tuesday at a cafe in the company of two female tourists who have since left the island.

No further details about the victim, including a name or hometown, were immediately available.

Mathraki, which has a population of 100, is a 1.2-square-mile heavily wooded island, west of the better-known island of Corfu.

This was the latest in a string of recent cases in which tourists on the Greek islands have died or gone missing. Some, if not all, had set out on hikes in very hot temperatures.

A 74-year-old Dutch tourist was found by a fire department drone on Saturday lying face down in a ravine about 300 metres from the spot where he was last observed last Sunday, walking with some difficulty in the blistering heat.

The British television presenter, Dr Michael Mosley, was found dead last Sunday on the island of Symi.

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Firefighters take part in a search and rescue operation for missing British journalist Michael Mosley on the island of Symi
Firefighters take part in a search and rescue operation for missing British journalist Michael Mosley on the island of Symi. Picture: Getty

A coroner concluded that he had died the previous Wednesday, shortly after going for a hike over difficult, rocky terrain.

On Friday, two French tourists were reported missing on Sikinos, a relatively secluded Cyclades island in the Aegean Sea, with less than 400 permanent residents.

The two women, ages 64 and 73, had left their respective hotels to meet.

On the island of Amorgos, also in the Cyclades, authorities are still searching for a 59-year-old tourist reported missing since Tuesday, when he had gone on a solo hike in very hot conditions.

US media identified the missing tourist as retired Los Angeles County deputy sheriff Albert Calibet, of Hermosa Beach, California.

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Tourists during high temperatures in Athens
Tourists during high temperatures in Athens. Picture: Getty

The Hellenic National Meteorological Service issued a weather warning earlier this week, stating: "On Friday the temperature will drop in the west, central and north, but in the rest of the areas it will remain at very high levels, while from the afternoon hours a change in weather is expected in northern Greece with thunderstorms accompanied by strong winds."

"In the northern mainland, the maximum temperature will reach 34 to 36 degrees and in central Macedonia 37 degrees Celsius, while its minimum values will range around 24 to 26 degrees Celsius. In the rest of the mainland, the maximum temperature will reach 36 to 38 degrees, in the interior of Sterea, Thessaly and Peloponnese 39 degrees Celsius, while the minimum values will range around 25 to 27 degrees."

"In the island country the maximum temperature will reach 34 to 36 degrees and in the islands of the eastern Aegean, the Dodecanese and the interior of Crete 37 to 39 and possibly 40 degrees Celsius while its minimum values will range around 27 to 28 degrees Celsius."

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