View of a wildfire in Aljezur View of a wildfire in Aljezur 

Fires in Portugal, floods in Slovenia as severe weather hits Europe

Fire brigades in Portugal are struggling to contain wildfires engulfing thousands of hectares, with authorities saying at least nine firefighters were injured in the blazes. It comes as much of Europe suffers extreme weather patterns ranging from heatwaves to heavy rains and storms causing deadly flooding and landslides.

By Stefan J. Bos  

Some 2,000 firefighters are battling wildfires after several days of extreme heat across Portugal.

But as these men struggled between burning trees, it was already declared unsafe for people living nearby.

Authorities said at least 1,400 people had been evacuated from the southern town of Odemira. Several firefighters were injured.

The blazes have been linked to heatwaves with temperatures over 40 Celsius (104 Fahrenheit) hitting much of the Iberian peninsula this week.

There was some hope as authorities announced that three major fires that scorched hundreds of hectares in neighboring Spain over the weekend have been brought under control. Yet weather alerts remain in place across much of the country.

International aid

Elsewhere in Europe, the European Union and NATO military alliance have begun sending urgent aid to Slovenia after deadly flooding over the weekend following records-breaking rain.

The flooding affecting two-thirds of the small European nation reportedly killed at least six people and left hundreds homeless.

Further away in Georgia, a day of mourning was observed for the dozens of people confirmed killed or missing after a landslide hit a resort area in the country's mountains last week.

The landslide struck the Shovi area on Thursday about 140 kilometers northwest of the capital Tbilisi.

Pope Francis has been praying for those suffering in the tragedy amid broader concerns about the climate in Europe.

Listen to the report by Stefan Bos

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08 August 2023, 17:18