August 19, 2022

The Queens County Citizen

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European heat wave: Evacuees fear it’s just the beginning

European heat wave: Evacuees fear it's just the beginning

Arcacon | Thousands of French people who have been forced to flee their homes in disaster-ravaged wildfires ravaging south-west France are on the verge of another heatwave tomorrow.

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“We’ve never had a fire here, so with global warming, I’m really afraid that this will be the first in a long series”, worries Julie Zwobada, who has no chance of leaving her two cats, her car and him. goods, when he was barred from returning to his home from July 14.

Having vacationed in this area for 50 years and lived there for five years, she has never faced such heat and disasters in the field she has loved for so many years.

“At the moment, the fire has burned for two days in 7000 hectares, but it is still not under control and as the temperatures are rising, we are afraid that it will start again,” said Julie Zwobada. Lives in the French village of Cazaux in the Gironde.

Les Flots Bleus campsite in the Gironde, reduced to ashes by wildfires.

Photo Reuters

Les Flots Bleus campsite in the Gironde, reduced to ashes by wildfires.

On July 13, while traveling along the Atlantic coast with her husband for a week-long vacation, M.me Zwobada learned that initial threats were being made to evacuate areas near his home.

Major moves

For her, it is unthinkable to continue sailing while her house goes up in flames. So the pair turned around, 24 hours later, from the coast, thick smoke spread hundreds of kilometers and their vision seemed to be in their “corner of heaven”.

“When we finally arrived, we knew not to return to our house, taking our two cats and our things too”, she dropped with a lump in her throat, as we had to sleep on the family boat. A few days.

Since then no one has the right to step there. Police officers block all access leading to the village and patrol the streets 24 hours a day to ensure no resident or thief sets foot there.

A police officer prevents citizens from entering several areas affected by fires that are destroying thousands of hectares of forest in the Gironde.

Photo by Clara Loiseau

A police officer prevents citizens from entering several areas affected by fires that are destroying thousands of hectares of forest in the Gironde.

A non-cohabiting couple now lives in M’s spouse’s houseme Zvobada is located in La Teste-de-Buch

Jennifer Bustart, who was on her way to spend a week’s vacation with her parents, didn’t even have time to unpack her suitcases, which police had ordered her to empty.

“It’s been two and a half hours since we arrived,” she said.

She and her parents sought refuge with family friends, but authorities allowed civilians to return home.

Destruction

Although she feels lucky not to have suffered any physical damage, Julie Zwobada dreads the moment when she returns home.

“I didn’t dare look at the photos, because it’s so hard for you to associate with this place,” she lamented.

A firefighter who came to help cooks an egg on the floor in southwestern France, using only ambient heat.

Photo: AFP

A firefighter who came to help cooks an egg on the floor in southwestern France, using only ambient heat.

“Firefighters have worked like crazy, we really hope it’s enough to control the next fires,” she adds.

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Records everywhere

And it’s not over

Climate and the humanitarian crisis in Europe

Follow our journalist Clara Loiseau as she travels through Europe over the next few days to witness the effects of unprecedented heat waves hitting the old continent as a direct consequence of global warming. Record temperatures have caused a climate and humanitarian crisis, with fires ravaging regions, citizens driven from their homes, workers dying from heatstroke on the job, and local economies severely damaged.