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Europe weather: Six dead after Balkans hit by powerful storm as heatwave bakes continent

Six people have died in a powerful storm which has battered much of the Balkans – while Southern Europe continues to face a searing heatwave.

Dozens of people have also been injured as a result of strong winds and heavy rain which have hit countries including Croatia, Bosnia, Serbia and Slovenia.

It is the second storm in two days to sweep over the Balkans, and according to meteorologists is particularly strong because of a recent spell of hot and dry weather in the region.

In Croatia’s capital, Zagreb, two people, a 50-year-old man and a 48-year-old man, died after they were hit by falling trees.

A firefighter in the eastern Croatian town of Tovarnik also died during the storm, his unit said, revealing no other details.

Another person is said to have died in Croatia, one in Slovenia and one in Bosnia.

Elsewhere in Zagreb, a 36-year-old man was severely injured when a construction crane collapsed, the police said.

Serbia’s police said emergency crews had saved 40 people and put out 20 fires caused by thunder and lightning.

A 12-year-old girl was taken to hospital after a tree fell on her in the northern city of Novi Sad, doctors said.

Authorities have warned that more storms are possible in the next few days before the next wave of very hot weather begins in the region.

It comes as Southern Europe continues to face a scorching heatwave.

Firefighters from across the European Union are heading to Greece, as the country battles wildfires for another day.

Teams from Poland, Romania and Slovakia are due in Greece later on.

Israel has also pledged to send two firefighting planes, on top of the four Italian and French planes in use near Athens.

Greece’s meteorological service says there’s a higher risk of fires from today, because this week’s intense heat has dried out the land.

Parts of southern Greece are forecast to hit 44C by the end of the week.

In parts of southeast France there were “very high” temperatures overnight, with nine fire departments on amber alert.

Residents and tourists in the southeast of the country are being urged to stay safe in the sizzling heat.

Temperatures there are forecast to reach the mid-30s by Thursday afternoon.

The World Health Organisation has warned that healthcare systems are being put under increasing pressure because of the extreme heat gripping the Northern Hemisphere.

The global health body called on local and national governments to identify those potentially at risk from extreme heat, saying hospitals should ensure they have an action plans in place for future heatwaves.

The head of the WHO, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said the agency was concerned that those least able to cope with extreme heat were being hardest hit.

He also confirmed the WHO is now working with another UN agency, the World Meteorological Organisation, to support countries in developing hot-weather action plans to coordinate preparedness.

Source: Sky News