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Monday 15 July 2019

Holidaymakers are told to take precautions as heatwave hits the continent


Boiling: An orangutan gets a drink of water in Vienna yesterday
Boiling: An orangutan gets a drink of water in Vienna yesterday

Allison Bray

Irish holidaymakers are being advised to take precautions as a furnace-like heatwave descends on much of continental Europe later this week.

Pat Dawson, CEO of the Irish Travel Agents Association (ITAA), said while its members have not received any holiday cancellations in light of a forecast of temperatures exceeding 40C from Switzerland to Spain later this week, holidaymakers should take necessary precautions.

"Our members are advising holidaymakers to stay hydrated throughout their stay and to avoid direct sunlight during the hottest periods of the day. We are encouraging all travellers to follow the advice of the local authorities," he said.

However, most affected destinations have already introduced water mists, temporary fountains and cooling centres to tackle the excessive heat, he said.

A spokesman for the Department of Foreign Affairs also advised travellers to check the department's website for any updated travel advisories in affected countries.

The warning comes as meteorologists are expecting the record-breaking heatwave to hit Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Denmark, the Czech Republic as well as Luxembourg, The Netherlands and Switzerland.

French forecasters predict the mercury could soar to 45C in the southern towns of Nimes and Carpentras on Friday - as a combination of a storm stalling over the Atlantic coupled with a high pressure system over central Europe blasts hot air over the continent from the Sahara desert.

A similar heatwave in Europe in 2003 led to the premature deaths of around 70,000. European authorities have already placed nursing and retirement homes on alert and have urged vulnerable people, including pregnant women, children and the elderly and infirm to stay indoors and be vigilant against dehydration and heat stroke.

Irish Independent

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