French Woman Missing in Greece Sent Distress Text

A photograph shows the Parthenon Temple at the top of the Acropolis hill in Athens on November 28, 2023. (AFP)
A photograph shows the Parthenon Temple at the top of the Acropolis hill in Athens on November 28, 2023. (AFP)
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French Woman Missing in Greece Sent Distress Text

A photograph shows the Parthenon Temple at the top of the Acropolis hill in Athens on November 28, 2023. (AFP)
A photograph shows the Parthenon Temple at the top of the Acropolis hill in Athens on November 28, 2023. (AFP)

A 73-year-old French woman missing on the Greek island of Sikinos since Friday sent a distress message to her hotel before disappearing, the owner said.

A search is under way for the woman, who has not been named by authorities. She is one of three tourists missing in Greece, and five have died this month in unseasonably hot weather.

Ilias Gavanas, who owns the guest house where the woman was staying, told Reuters he last heard from her on Friday when he reached her by phone around 8:30 a.m. after missing a call from her at 5:50 a.m.

He said the woman had sent him a selfie and a message saying: "I am fall". He replied in French and English asking for her location and telling her to call the European emergency number 112, and alerted police and municipal authorities.

Temperatures soared above 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit) across Greece earlier this month.

Hiking is popular with tourists on Sikinos, a largely barren and sparsely populated island in the southern Aegean Sea, Gavanas said.

"We warn them not to go out in the heat, to always inform us where they are, to not wander off alone," he said. "It was 40 degrees."

The tourism ministry said it "remained vigilant" and was working with other ministries to ensure travellers were being kept informed.

A second French woman is missing on Sikinos, and authorities believe the two missing women went hiking together although they were not staying at the same hotel, police said.

A search is under way on the island of Amorgos for an American man missing since June 11.

The five tourists who have died included British TV presenter Michael Mosley, whose body was found on the island of Symi. A 55-year-old American died on the Ionian island of Mathraki, a 74-year-old Dutch tourist died on the island of Samos and two hikers died on Crete.



UN Demands Action on Extreme Heat as World Registers Warmest Day

 A child cools off nearby sprinklers at Retiro Park during the second day of the heatwave, in Madrid, Spain July 25, 2024. (Reuters)
A child cools off nearby sprinklers at Retiro Park during the second day of the heatwave, in Madrid, Spain July 25, 2024. (Reuters)
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UN Demands Action on Extreme Heat as World Registers Warmest Day

 A child cools off nearby sprinklers at Retiro Park during the second day of the heatwave, in Madrid, Spain July 25, 2024. (Reuters)
A child cools off nearby sprinklers at Retiro Park during the second day of the heatwave, in Madrid, Spain July 25, 2024. (Reuters)

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres called on Thursday for countries to address the urgency of the extreme heat epidemic, fueled by climate change - days after the world registered its hottest day on record.

"Extreme heat is the new abnormal," Guterres said. "The world must rise to the challenge of rising temperatures," he said.

Climate change is making heatwaves more frequent, more intense and longer lasting across the world.

Already this year, scorching conditions have killed 1,300 hajj pilgrims, closed schools for some 80 million children in Africa and Asia, and led to a spike in hospitalizations and deaths in the Sahel.

Every month since June 2023 has now ranked as the planet's warmest since records began in 1940, compared with the corresponding month in previous years, according the European Union's Copernicus Climate Change Service.

The UN called on governments to not only tamp down fossil fuel emissions - the driver of climate change - but to bolster protections for the most vulnerable, including the elderly, pregnant women and children, and step up safeguards for workers.

Over 70 percent of the global workforce - 2.4 billion people - are now at high risk of extreme heat, according to a report from the International Labour Organization (ILO) published Thursday.

In Africa, nearly 93 percent of the workforce is exposed to excessive heat, and 84 percent of the Arab States' workforce, the ILO report found.

Excessive heat has been blamed for causing almost 23 million workplace injuries worldwide, and some 19,000 deaths annually.

"We need measures to protect workers, grounded in human rights," Guterres said.

He also called for governments to "heatproof" their economies, critical sectors such as healthcare, and the built environment.

Cities are warming at twice the worldwide average rate due to rapid urbanization and the urban heat island effect.

By 2050, some researchers estimate a 700 percent global increase in the number of urban poor living in extreme heat conditions.

This is the first time the UN has put out a global call for action on extreme heat.

"We need a policy signal and this is it," said Kathy Baughman Mcleod, CEO of Climate Resilience for All, a nonprofit focused on extreme heat.

"It's recognition of how big it is and how urgent it is. It's also recognition that everybody doesn't feel in the same way and pay the same price for it."