'Unprecedented' drought in Europe threatens crops and power supplies amid Ukraine crisis

Alerts are in place across much of the continent as fires have broken out and great rivers have dried up.

This comes as the Met Office declared a red weather warning for extreme heat in the UK on Monday and Tuesday.

Director of the EU’s Copernicus Climate Change Service Carlo Buontemp said: “We are seeing, really, largely unprecedented drought in many parts [of Europe].”

Production of hydroelectric power and food has been under strain since the war in Ukraine, as sanctions against Russia have made obtaining energy and grain more difficult.

Things could get even worse as August has not yet begun, a month which generally sees a lot of hot weather.

Hydrologist at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany Fred Hatterman told POLITICO: “For parts of agriculture, things are looking bad already.

“The forests are weakened. A lot would need to happen for it to become a good year.”

Many European city residents have been asked to cut back on their use of drinking water as the ground gets even drier and rivers stop flowing.

In northern Italy the basin of the Po river, one of the country’s largest waterways, has not seen any rain for over 200 days.

READ MORE: Russia issues ‘doomsday’ threat to Ukraine over Crimea

Droughts can happen in southern Europe in the summer months, but this year the dry weather is affecting many different countries, such as Germany and Hungary.

Niko Wanders, an assistant professor of hydrological extremes at Utrecht University in the Netherlands has warned that ecosystems could “collapse under the strain”.

He added: “It is clear that things are deteriorating across the board.”

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