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Workers pouring with sweat in blistering heatwave

todayAugust 12, 2023 10

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Workers pouring with sweat in blistering heatwave

At the Mancini vineyard in the hills outside Olbia on the Italian island of Sardinia, Alessandro Mancini shows us the vines.

It is not a pretty sight.

“I think I will lose maybe a thousand plants” he says, adding that the extreme heat makes it very difficult to replant with new seedlings.

He told us that Sardinia is used to very hot summers, but what has changed is the duration of heatwaves.

Weather – latest: This will be ‘coolest summer for the rest of your life’

This is the thing that makes his job much harder – the lack of relief for the vines over long periods stresses them to the point where they start to die.

“We try”, he said, “but it’s very difficult”.

Sardinia’s civil protection authority has released the latest ‘red alert’ heat bulletin, saying they’re expecting “extremely high temperatures, with an average of 44C (111.2F) maximum temperature and 30C (86F) minimum temperature from today until (at least) Saturday”.

Sardinia

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Sardinia

The other impact of the heat, which could get up to 46C (114.8F) or 47C (116.6F) in Sardinia today, is how challenging it becomes to work outside.

As we walked through the vines, three workers, pouring with sweat, busily trimmed and tidied, rushing to finish at 10.30am before the heat of the day kicked in.

Check the latest weather forecast where you’re going here

“We start at 6am” said Patrizia Laconi, “otherwise it’s very difficult”.

Her colleague Roberto Puliga nodded in agreement, he said it was all about adaptation, adding “you have to get used to it” in order to do the job.

Manuela Casu said that income is important so there is little choice, despite the conditions.

“We have to work, it is our job,” she said.

Pharmacy in Nuoro

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Pharmacy in Nuoro reads 47C

Further south, in the hills on the northeast coast, lies the beautiful village of Posada.

But the streets were almost deserted as the sun beat down.

It is hard going for those who make their money in the peak summer season.

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Shop owner Andreana Deledda said: “Normally there are a lot of people and tourists around, but in this heat there is no one, people prefer just to stay in the beach… now there are ever-increasing temperatures.”

Further into the interior of the island, lies the town of Nuoro, where the sign outside the local pharmacy read 47C (116.6F).

Dr Marco Falchi

Image:
Dr Marco Falchi

Getting out of the car felt like stepping into an oven, with a hot wind and heat radiating from the sun and from the ground.

Dr Marco Falchi, who works in the ICU at the local hospital, told us that during prolonged heatwaves, the hospital gets busier with a mix of vulnerable people like the elderly and the very young who can struggle to keep themselves cool in the heat, but also tourists who have spent too much time in the sun.

“The heat can be very dangerous” if you don’t take it seriously, he said.

Written by: Newsroom

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