05 August 2004
BRUSSELS – Belgium is bracing itself for a possible heatwave after temperatures soared once again across the country on Thursday.
Temperatures in Brussels reached 30 degrees on Thursday and Belgium’s Royal Meteorological Institute were predicting they could go even higher.
The IRM is so concerned about a possible heatwave that it has warned the Belgian health ministry about the risk.
The ministry is keeping a close eye on the situation and if the hot spell continues, a crisis manager will be appointed to oversee emergency measures in Belgium’s hospitals.
Analysts say the Belgian authorities are desperate to ensure people are prepared for a long, hot spell should the recent hot weather turn into a full-blown heatwave.
Last year, almost 1,300 people died in Belgium when a particularly harsh Europe-wide heatwave took the authorities and ordinary people by surprise.
The health ministry has issued advice to the general public on how to stay safe during the hot weather.
It is telling people to drink lots of mineral water, wear loose, light clothes, shut shutters, curtains and blinds to keep buildings cool, create air circulation in warm homes and offices and to sit in shady or air-conditioned places.
It is warning against spending long periods in the sun from 11am-8pm, drinking alcohol or sugary drinks and leaving animals in cars.
Old people, young children, the sick or anyone living alone are particularly vulnerable when temperatures soar.
The symptoms of heat stroke include cramps, serious exhaustion and headaches.
People are being advised to call a doctor or the emergency services – on 100 or 112 – if they think they or someone close to them may be suffering from the condition.
[Copyright Expatica 2004]
Subject: Belgian news