Italy’s southern island of Sicily has been severely impacted by devastating wildfires, resulting in the tragic loss of three elderly lives. According to the regional president, the wildfires have taken a toll on the region, causing significant damage. Among the victims were a couple in their 70s, whose charred bodies were discovered in their burnt-out home on the outskirts of Palermo, the capital of the region, as reported by Italian media. Furthermore, northern Italy has been experiencing a heatwave and severe storms, compounding the challenges faced by the country during this period
Another woman in her late 80s died in the Palermo province after an ambulance was unable to reach her home due to fires in the area.
In an overnight message on Facebook, Sicilian President Renato Schifani said “scorching heat and unprecedented devastating fires” had turned Tuesday into “one of the most difficult days in decades.”
Italian firefighters said they battled nearly 1,400 fires between Sunday and Tuesday, including 650 in Sicily and 390 in Calabria, the southern mainland region where a bedridden 98-year-old man was killed as fire consumed his home.
Fires were still burning on the hills around Palermo on Wednesday, with Canadair planes back in operation to try to douse the flames.
Large areas of the Mediterranean have been sweltering under an intense summer heatwave on Tuesday, causing deadly blazes across the region.
Sicily is a major tourist destination but a fire inside a terminal building last week caused the near-total closure of its biggest airport in Catania on the east of the island. Palermo airport was also closed for a few hours on Tuesday because of a wildfire nearby.