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In heat emergency, Greece adds checks for fires, power cuts

ATHENS — Greek authorities ordered additional fire patrols and infrastructure maintenance inspections Friday. The country grappled with a heatwave fed by hot air from Africa expected to last more than a week.

Temperatures in Greece and nearby countries in southeast Europe are expected to climb to 42 degrees Celsius (107.6 F) in many cities and towns on Monday and ease only later next week.

Officials said the additional inspections aimed to prevent water and power outages, with the increased use of air conditioning testing the country’s energy capacity.

Sporadic outages were reported in parts of greater Athens on Friday, but some had been planned by the grid operator for maintenance work. “This is a dangerous weather phenomenon. We have been saying it from the start of the week,” said Theodoris Kolydas, director of Greece’s National Meteorological Service.

“The conditions will be stubborn and only subside gradually… very hot air masses from the shores of Africa are heading toward our region.” Workers most exposed to the heat, including those in construction, manual labor, catering, and elsewhere, will be given longer breaks next week between midday and 4:00 p.m. Employers were also instructed by the Labor Ministry to provide water and air-conditioned rest areas.

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