Heatwave in Europe: evacuees fear it's just the beginning

Heat wave in Europe: evacuees fear it's only’ a start

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ARCACHON | The ordeal of thousands of French people forced to flee their homes in disaster because of the forest fires ravaging the south-west of France is far from over, as another heat wave will hit them tomorrow.

“We've never had a fire here, so I'm really afraid that with global warming, this will be the first in a long series”, worries Julie Zwobada, who did not have the choice to abandon her two cats, her car and her belongings, when she has been forbidden to return to her home since July 14.

The one who has been coming to the region on vacation for 50 years and who lived there for five years had never been confronted with such heat and disasters of this magnitude in this sector that she has loved for so many years.

“For the moment, the fire has been contained for two days in 7000 hectares which have been burned, but it is not yet under control and as the temperatures are rising, we are afraid that it will start again”, confides Julie Zwobada, who lives in the French village of Cazaux, in Gironde.

Les flots bleus campsite, in Gironde, was reduced to ashes by a forest fire.

On July 13, while sailing along the Atlantic coast with her husband for a week's vacation, Mrs. Zwobada learned that the first threats of evacuation were being given in areas near his house.

Major evacuations

For her, it was unthinkable to continue sailing, while her house could be engulfed in flames. The couple therefore turned around and discovered, 24 hours later, from the shore, the thick smoke which stretched for hundreds of kilometers and whose home seemed to be in their “corner of paradise”. /p>

“When we finally arrived, we learned that we were forbidden to return to our house, even to take our two cats and our belongings”, she drops with a lump in her throat, adding that she had to sleep on the family boat for a few days.

Since then, no one is allowed to set foot there. Police officers block all accesses leading to the village and patrols patrol the streets 24 hours a day to ensure that no resident or thief sets foot there.

A police officer prevents civilians from accessing several areas which are affected by fires which are ravaging thousands of hectares of forests in Gironde.

The couple, who do not live together, now live in the house of Mrs. Zwobada's spouse located in La Teste-de-Buch

Jennifer Bastart, who had just his side to spend a week of vacation with his parents, did not even have time to unpack his suitcases which the police gave the order to evacuate.

“It had been two and a half hours since 'we had arrived,' she says.

She and her parents took refuge with family friends while the authorities allowed civilians to return to their homes.

Destruction

Although she considers herself lucky to have no material loss, Julie Zwobada dreads the moment when she will be able to return to her house.

“I didn't dare look at the photos too much , because it's difficult when you're so attached to this place,” she laments.

A firefighter who came to help cooks an egg on the ground only with ambient heat, in the south-west of France.

“The firefighters worked like crazy, we really hope that this is enough to contain the next outbreaks of fire”, she adds.  

< p style="text-align:center;">RECORDS EVERYWHERE

 

AND IT'S NOT OVER

CLIMATE AND HUMANITARIAN CRISIS IN EUROPE

Follow our journalist Clara Loiseau, who is visiting Europe over the next few days, to witness the effects of the unprecedented heat wave that is hitting the old continent, a direct consequence of global warming. Record temperatures have caused a climate and humanitarian crisis, including fires ravaging regions, citizens driven from their homes, workers dying of heat on the job and local economies hit hard.