In the extreme heat in Italy, several people have died at work in recent weeks. Strikes are now threatening in the country.
Munich/Rome – With fierce forest fires in Greece, almost dried up rivers in Spain, record temperatures in southern Italy and severe storms, the consequences of the climate crisis are becoming particularly visible in southern Europe these days. This is now also reflected in another, drastic statistic in the heat strongholds of Italy: the number of heat-related deaths.
According to one of the British, several people who died in the heat in the past week have reported in the past few days Guardians multiple media. The actual number of deaths, which might not have happened without the extreme heat, is estimated to be significantly higher. Many of the heat deaths being talked about in Italy right now have been workers who collapsed on or after their hours of work.
Several heat deaths in Italy: unions are demanding action from employers
There is the baker from the Venice region who died in hospital after collapsing in his bakery. Or the 75-year-old construction worker who was working on the construction of a new Amazon warehouse near Ancona. The 44-year-old who collapsed while applying road markings in Milan. Or the 61-year-old supermarket worker from Florence, who was found dead after his shift in the 39-degree staff room. And his niece says he died “terribly”: “At work and alone.”
In response, the first labor organizations and unions have called for better conditions for employees, and some are threatening to go on strike in the near future. To the Guardians Salvatore Cutaia, general secretary of a workers’ organization in Milan, said that he saw employers as having a duty to remedy the situation by improving working conditions. Reduced working hours on hot days with the same pay, the creation of shady break areas and free water supply – according to Cutaia, measures like these could save lives.
Temperatures over 46 degrees in Italy: hospitals are at the limit
The temperature record in Italy in the past few days was 46.4 degrees in Sicily, and forecasts for the coming weeks expect up to 47 or even 48 degrees in the Sardinia and Sicily regions. Even in many cities that are not in the south of the country – such as Rome, Perugia or Firenze – the forecast maximum temperatures are just under 40 degrees. Further north on the weekend (July 22nd/23rd), violent hailstorms caused injuries and washed away beach loungers and parasols.
As early as Wednesday (July 19), the Ministry of Health had declared the highest heat alert for 23 larger Italian cities. Air-conditioned health centers have been set up in some, where people can stock up on water. In many places in Italy, hospitals and emergency rooms are overwhelmed. The Italian Newspaper La Republica already reported on Tuesday (July 18) that there were around 20 percent more emergency doctor calls than usual throughout Italy. (saka with dpa)
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