Too much water, or not enough

As Britain lies awash with floods, having to dole out bottled water to those without running supplies, other parts of Europe are using the bottled stuff while being roasted in a deadly heatwave.

Up to 500 people are estimated to have died across Hungary in the past week.

In central and southeast Europe, tinderbox-high temperatures have also killed 12 Romanians, one man in Macedonia and another man on the island of Corfu, while firefighters, soldiers and volunteers have battled wildfires.

In southern Italy, thousands of tourists were trapped on beaches in the Puglia region as a fast-moving bushfire forced people from campsites and hotels to run for their lives. At least two people have died.

Emergency services used patrol boats and helicopters to whisk some 4000 holidaymakers and residents to safety.

Many had rushed to the beach in bathing suits, leaving all belongings behind. The fire spread quickly, threatening hotels and holiday villages.

Serbia battled 50 forest fires on what meteorologists predicted would be the hottest day of the year, with the temperature topping 43C.

In Romania, the new deaths pushed the toll from the heatwave up to 30, and 19,000 people have been admitted to hospitals in the region's second devastating hot spell this year.

More than 35 people died in Romania, Turkey and Greece in June when the mercury shot up to 46C.

In Athens, Greeks and tourists walked with umbrellas and newspapers covering their heads. Many flocked to nearby beaches.

"It's like having a sauna without having to pay, a free sauna from God," one woman said.

- REUTERS

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