Hotspot of international tourism: Rome can claim this title in two ways. The city of the Colosseum, the Vatican and the Spanish Steps, which is otherwise unbearable in July and August, has become an oven these days. “What deadly heat!” – with this sigh every conversation begins with those who could not flee to the somewhat more pleasant sea and have to work. Instead of refreshment, even the pizza cyclists and scooter tourists get a kind of desert wind blowing in their faces when they dash down the steep Via Cavour from Termini station in the direction of the Roman Forum. Urban politics plays an unfavorable role in this: building mistakes, neglected green spaces, dying trees, whose survival is becoming even more uncertain due to more and more air conditioning in the densely built-up city and in the limousines in the rather heavier traffic. Not only in the Mezzogiorno down Rome do they moan about record temperatures – Italy’s farmers’ association reports regional crop losses of up to 70 percent because vegetables and fruit burn in the fields. It should remain at 40 degrees plus in Portugal, Spain and Greece for the next few days. Italy, the weather forecast promises at least some relief, while Great Britain will declare a red alert for the heat for the first time in its history: The island record of 38.7 degrees is likely to be broken these days.
In France, the area south of Bordeaux is fighting two forest fires, which are spreading thanks to persistent drought and strong winds. The highest alert level applies. Countless forest fires are currently exacerbating the heat in Portugal, Spain and Greece and are sending out dangerous clouds of smoke. That’s not the right holiday weather. What to do when the heat makes recovery impossible or fires even affect your health? “If the vacation paradise becomes a nightmare due to extraordinary circumstances, you can withdraw from a package holiday or cancel the trip prematurely,” says the information website of the consumer centers. Such extraordinary and unavoidable circumstances, formerly known as “force majeure”, are therefore, in addition to air traffic controller strikes, wars, widespread political unrest and the outbreak of dangerous diseases, also revolts from Mother Nature: “volcanic eruptions, avalanches, forest fires, earthquakes and seaquakes and other natural disasters” – be it in the travel area itself or in its immediate vicinity. Consumer advocates advise against canceling too early: the damage or impairments could have been rectified long before the start of the trip. It does not depend on the assessment of the travelers, but on, according to the consumer advice centers, “the situation on site”. The Foreign Office in particular can assess this, but the situation remains vague here too: Its “formal warnings” are “an important indication, but not a prerequisite” for travelers being allowed to withdraw from the trip free of charge. The Foreign Office’s “Travel and Security Warnings” contain information under “Nature and Climate” if volcanoes erupt frequently in a country or if there is a regular risk of forest fires in summer.
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There are currently these indications for Turkey, Greece, France, Spain and Portugal, among others. In the chapter on Italy, the AA warns of the consequences of the drought emergency, which is to apply until December, with the result that drinking water will be rationed.