Drought in Portugal, Spain

The heat wave in Portugal and Spain continues to bring more forest fires. The fires have killed at least 15 people in Portugal and burnt at least 180,000 hectares land. Five per cent of the country's forest cover has been lost. It is believed that while lightning and other environmental factors are responsible for some fires, humans start the majority. The heat wave simply facilitates their spread and ferocity.

Agriculture has been ruined. According to a scientific analysis by the European Commission, the crop of durham wheat produced in Spain is predicted 75 per cent lower than last year's yield; soft wheat may be 49 per cent lower. In Portugal, the corresponding figures are 57 per cent and 50 per cent lower, respectively. Total production of cereals in Europe in 2005 will be at least 28 million tonnes or 10 per cent less than in 2004.

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