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Europe faces worst drought in 500 years

The Simione Peninsula; on the southern shore of Lake Garda: Picture DW

Two-thirds of Europe is under some sort of drought warning, in what is likely the worst such event in 500 years.

The latest report from the European Drought Observatory report says 47% of the continent is in “warning” conditions, meaning soil has dried up.

European Drought Observatory provides drought-relevant information such as maps of indicators derived from different data sources

According to the report, another 17% is on alert: that is vegetation are showing signs of stress.

The report warns that the dry spell will hit crop yields, spark wildfires, and may last several months more in some of Europe’s southern regions.

The ongoing heatwave and water shortages have “created an unprecedented stress on water levels in the entire EU”, Research Commissioner Mariya Gabriel said.

It says nearly all of Europe’s rivers have dried up to some extent and affecting the energy sector with hydroelectric power dropping by about 20%.

It also warns that the drought which is expanding and has become worse in early August” will likely last until at least November this year along the Mediterranean.

The report warns that the situation is worsening in countries including Italy, Spain, Portugal, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Romania, Hungary, northern Serbia, Ukraine, Moldova, Ireland and the UK.