A series of images have captured the moment a policeman rescued a young child from their burning home.
The shocking pictures, taken by photographer Aris Messinis, show an unnamed Greek officer carrying a young child as fires raged near Thessaloniki, among the areas worst hit by Europe’s record-breaking heat.
They have hammered home the impact of the devastating heatwave, which has sent temperatures to 40C and beyond, and sparked deadly wildfires in and around the Greek capital.
Authorities have launched urgent operations to contain the blazes, with firefighters struggling to beat back the flames despite having deployed “water bomber” helicopters carrying hundreds of gallons of water.
A vast evacuation has also begun, with authorities extracting 1,200 children living nearby Greek seaside resorts.
The pictures taken in the village of Agios Charalampos, in the countryside miles down the road from Thessaloniki.
Residents of Agios Charalampos and Panorama, a suburb on the other side of the Thermic Gulf, are under evacuation orders as fires threaten local homes.
Wildfires have broken out across the country, and officials are bracing for another week of firefighting.
Kostas Tsigas, head of the fire brigade officers’ association, told SKAI TV that conditions have become “extreme” and likely to remain so “for another week”.
READ MORE: Top tips to surviving the heatwave as scorching temperatures to lash millions
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Greece isn’t alone in its searing misery, with neighbouring nations also fighting heat-related emergencies.
Officials recorded highest temperatures ever in Rome this week, with Italian hospitals seeing a surge in heat-related admissions.
The mercury reached 41.8C on Tuesday, July 18, breaking a 40.7C record set just last year.
In Naples, the Cardarelli hospital said on the same day that 231 people had required emergency care over the last 24 hours, primarily older patients suffering from the heat.
The Italian health ministry has placed 23 cities on a heat “red alert” as temperatures become too much to bear, and Giovanni Leoni, the vice-president of a doctors’ federation, warned of a “fatal situation” caused by the temperatures.
In Spain, temperatures may reach the highest on the continent, with 44C highs predicted for the Guadalquivir Valley near Seville.
The country has also seen its share of wildfires, with several burning on the Canary Island La Palma.
More than 4,000 residents have fled their homes in the area, but national weather agency Aemet has predicted that temperatures should start to fall from today.
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