Budapest/Geneva, 3 August 2018: Red Cross volunteers are working across Europe to help keep the public safe as temperatures threaten to top 48C in some countries.

Spain and Portugal could face their hottest day in history and record Europe’s highest temperature since 1977 according to weather forecasts. The rest of southern and central Europe is also preparing for extreme heat this weekend.

Dr Davron Mukhamadiev, Europe Region health coordinator for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), said: “This summer’s heatwave has already taken its toll on communities across the continent as we have seen with the devastation caused by the recent wildfires in Greece.

“If the temperatures climb even higher this will be dangerous, especially for vulnerable people. If you have older relatives or neighbours, giving them a call or visiting could save a life.”

Hundreds of Red Cross volunteers are going door-to-door to check in on those who might be struggling to cope with the heat. In the Netherlands, recent Red Cross research revealed that just 18 per cent of people check on elderly relatives in a heatwave. Hundreds of volunteers are now visiting at-risk homes and providing soup and fruit to help people stay hydrated.

“Night time temperatures are also remaining high which means our bodies have less chance to recover and rest while we are sleeping,” said Mukhamadiev.

‘Prolonged heatwaves are particularly dangerous for people with existing health problems like high blood pressure or heart problems. Drinking plenty of water, staying out of the sun and getting enough rest can help keep people safe.”

In Portugal, volunteers are keeping watch in areas at risk of wildfires and are urging the public to do the same. Last year, ferocious fires in central Portugal claimed 66 lives and destroyed hundreds of homes.

National Societies across Europe are running public awareness and information campaigns, including for holiday makers. The Spanish Red Cross is providing beach safety and visiting homeless people and vulnerable communities, as is the Italian Red Cross. German Red Cross water safety volunteers are also stationed on the coast and at lakes in Germany, providing safety advice and first aid.

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For more information, please contact:

In Budapest: Nichola Jones, communications manager, IFRC Europe

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