Greece Grapples with Deadly Heatwave as Tourists Face Extreme Conditions
Greece Grapples with Deadly Heatwave as Tourists Face Extreme Conditions

Greece is facing an unprecedented early heatwave, leading to fatalities and disappearances among tourists as temperatures soar to record-breaking levels. The scorching heat, characterized by temperatures surpassing 38°C for over three days, has triggered urgent warnings for travelers.

Tourist hubs like Athens are feeling the brunt of the heat, forcing popular attractions like the Acropolis to temporarily close their doors. The iconic landmark, a must-visit for tourists, shut down amid the scorching heat, with visitors fainting in long queues. Greek authorities have issued a level three heat alert, advising people to stay indoors and avoid strenuous outdoor activities.

Chania, situated on Crete's northwest coast, witnessed the highest temperature, reaching a sweltering 44.5°C. Meanwhile, Central Athens recorded temperatures as high as 42°C, leading to health advisories and the closure of schools.

The heatwave has also prompted the closure of several archaeological sites across various regions of Greece, raising concerns about an increased risk of wildfires due to strong winds. Vassilis Kikilias, Greece's Climate Crisis and Civil Protection Minister, emphasized that civil protection was on high alert, particularly in ten regions, including Attica, which encompasses Athens.

This early heatwave has severely disrupted tourism, with the Acropolis forced to close during peak hours, preventing tourists from exploring ancient landmarks like the Parthenon. Last year's two-week heatwave in July, followed by devastating wildfires, serves as a grim reminder of the potential risks.

Despite these challenges, Greece welcomed nearly four million visitors to the Acropolis in 2023, partly driven by cruise ship arrivals at Piraeus port. As temperatures are expected to gradually decrease from Friday onwards, Greece remains vigilant, preparing for potential extreme weather events throughout the summer.

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