BUCHAREST Five Romanians died this week as a
heatwave gripped parts of the Balkans where temperatures have
hit 42 degrees Celsius (108 Fahrenheit), causing wild fires,
power shortages and traffic disruption.
Off the coast of Croatia, even sea temperatures were
expected to hit a record 30 degrees in the coming days.
"We have five people who died of heat. The heatwave could
last until July 27," Romanian Health Minister Eugen Nicolaescu
A previous heatwave in June claimed the lives of 30 people
in the Black Sea state over a two-week period and scorched
thousands of hectares of farmland, badly hitting the country's
In the Serbian capital Belgrade authorities wheeled out two
dozen cistern trucks with water to hot spots such as bus and
train stations, urging citizens to drink and wet their head to
Officials banned the sale of eggs in outdoor markets and
cautioned against swimming in the Ada Ciganlija lake, as the
difference in temperature between the air and the water had
caused several swimmers to suffer cardiac arrest and die.
In Bucharest television footage showed people with bottles
of water sheltering under the trees in the city center.
Authorities have also set up tents throughout the main cities
to offer water and emergency medical assistance.
Trains arriving in Bucharest have reported delays due to
speed restrictions imposed by the authorities worried the heat
could buckle rails and cause derailments. The government has
also banned trucks heavier than 7.5 metric tons from the main
roads during the day to safeguard surfaces softened by the heat
Falling water levels in Albania's hydropower stations
caused power cuts of up 14 hours a day and also affected the
water supply, which depends on electricity to operate its
In the capital Tirana, people were stocking up on six-liter
plastic containers and filling them up in public parks, some
loading up many at a time on wheelbarrows to take home.
Wild fires were reported in Macedonia, Bulgaria and in
parts of Serbia's breakaway Kosovo province. Kosovo's largest
waterfall, in the town of Klina, dried up for the first time
(Additional reporting from Balkan bureau)