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Greeks frustrated over tourists who ignore heatwave advice

Local residents in Greece and Cyprus are feeling a “sense of frustration” at British tourists who have ignored advice to protect themselves during a recent heatwave, expats have told i, after several foreigners were found dead.

Since the mercury rose to as high as 44C in the Aegean Sea region last week, three tourists have died in the past week. Earlier this month, authorities found the body of the British broadcaster Dr Michael Mosley, who is believed to have died of heat exhaustion while on a hike in temperatures of more than 40°C.

Daphne Tolis, 44, a Canadian documentary filmmaker living in Greece, told i that tourists in her home city of Athens “underestimate and do not know the intensity of the heat”.

“[We] often see tourists going out hiking or on a bike ride in the middle of the day, when most Greek people know not to do any physical exercise,” she said.

Ms Tolis said there was already a lot of information available warning visitors not to exercise during the day, to eat light food and to wear loose clothes.

Michael Mosley Image taken from Facebook
Dr Michael Mosley’s body was found on the Sunday after he went missing on the Greek island of Symi on Wednesday (Photo: Facebook)

“There is a sense of frustration among locals [at British tourists] but also they feel very sorry, very sad. They do not want [tourists’ deaths] to happen – it is also bad for them as a tourist destination.”

Mark Barrett, a Briton now living and writing travel guides about Greece, said tourists’ “inexperience” was an issue. “You don’t see massive casualties among the Greeks. Just tourists… [who] push on and do their walks; many having never experienced this kind of heat in this kind of terrain,” he said.

While heatwaves like these are common in the region, this is said to be the earliest on record.

Temperatures on Cyprus have been so high that “stray animals are dropping dead” in the street, according to Charli Day, 44, a British expat who leaves bowls of water out on the pavement for cats to drink from.

Two elderly people died from heatstroke in Cyprus after a weeklong heatwave, during which temperatures exceeded 40°C. Three elderly patients were also reported to be in a serious condition.

“June is considered spring here, so we are a bit worried what we will get in August,” Ms Day added. “We are hoping we won’t get power cuts from too many people using their AC – or water cuts. In some villages, they will cut the water every third day.”

Today the body of an unnamed 55-year-old American man was found by a beachgoer on the Greek island of Mathraki, while a 74-year-old Dutch tourist was found dead on Saturday, 300 metres from the spot on Samos where he was last observed walking in the heat.

Another American, Albert Calibet, 59, was reported missing last Tuesday afternoon by his friends after he failed to return from a hike, according to local officials. On Friday, two French tourists, aged 64 and 73, were reported missing on Sikinos.

“There is a common pattern – they all went for a hike amid high temperatures,” Petros Vassilakis, police spokesman for the Southern Aegean, told Reuters after the death of the American on the island of Mathraki.

While the weather cooled slightly in the region on Monday, temperatures are due to rise once again later this month as winds from North Africa are expected to push them up.

Many schools have been forced to shut already, with top tourist sites including the ancient Acropolis in Athens, also closing.

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