With all the political events that have heated the political thermometer top boiling point, July has come before one even realizes it. Although it has just begun, it has brought very warm air masses and high temperatures that have made the atmosphere unbearable in large urban centres.
The Greek Weather Service has issued an extraordinary message warning of a dangerous phenomenon. From today to the end of the week, high temperatures will prevail in the country, and they are expected to gradually increase.
Today, the heat in Athens started early in the morning and in the hottest hours of the day, the temperature reached 39°C and it is likely to reach 40°C.
There were few passers-by in the central streets today. People were hurrying to hide from the fury of the sun’s blaze, protecting themselves with hats and umbrellas. The fountain in downtown Syntagma Square was filled with pigeons drinking and wetting themselves with water to withstand the heat.
A little later, two small children joined them. At first, they just wet their feet but then, they quickly dipped into the cool water and began playing.
In order to protect citizens from the heat, the municipality in Athens has opened the doors of air-conditioned halls, where anyone who wants to get cool can spend the day between 8 am and 8 pm.
These are the so-called friendship clubs the members of which are retired people over 60 years of age. GRReporter visited one of the halls – in the Koukaki neighbourhood in central Athens, where there were not many visitors, however.
According to employee Hara Stayanou, not many people visit the hall in the hot summer days. "Many of our members are not in Athens; they have already left for their villages. I worked at the club on Panormou Street before, where there were many visitors."
She added that older people go to the club in the morning and late in the afternoon. "It is just their regime." There are 24 clubs, where Athenians can go to get cool. The municipalities of Piraeus, Thessaloniki and Patras have taken similar measures too.
According to meteorologists, the hot weather will continue until early next week at least. Doctors warn that elderly people, the chronically ill and parents of young children should be especially careful. They recommend avoiding leaving home during the hottest hours of the day, wearing hats and light and bright- coloured clothing.
The signs of sunstroke are dizziness, headache, drowsiness, behavioural abnormalities, nausea, vomiting and cramps. If any of these occur, people should immediately seek medical help.