By Xuefei Chen Axelsson
Stockholm, Aug. 1(Greenpost)– Sweden has faced the prolonged heat and drought in most of the areas in the country.
The prolonged heat and drought have had significant consequences for society. At present, forest fires are raging around the country and agriculture has been seriously affected by the drought. The high temperatures can also have an impact on people’s health, particularly the sick and elderly. The Government is following developments carefully and has continuous contact with the responsible authorities to manage the situation.
In view of the forest fires around the country, the widespread drought and the ongoing heatwave, intensive efforts are under way among rescue services, government agencies and municipalities.
Efforts to stop the forest fires
At present, several forest fires are raging around the country and the rescue services are making tremendous efforts to protect people, property, forests and the functioning of society.
The Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency is coordinating relevant agencies and supporting municipal rescue services, together with the Swedish Armed Forces and the county administrative boards, by providing reinforcements in terms of equipment, staff and expertise.
Via the EU, the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency has requested assistance in the form of firefighting aircraft from other European countries.
The work of the authorities is crucial to combating the fires. But everyone also carries a personal responsibility. In many parts of the country, fire bans are in place. Remember to check whether a fire ban is in place where you are.
Efforts to support agriculture
The Government is closely following developments in the agriculture sector and continues alongside government agencies and other actors to seek solutions to the challenges emerging so as to alleviate the situation for farmers. For example, the Government will provide national funds to strengthen the liquidity of our farmers. Sweden is in an active dialogue with the EU about exemptions and other solutions to alleviate the situation for Swedish farmers.
The Swedish Board of Agriculture is working actively to find solutions to alleviate the situation for the farmers affected. These include exemptions from regulations, higher advance payments from support funds to help liquidity, and more. For example, the Swedish Board of Agriculture has granted an exemption allowing farmers to take feed from grassland that otherwise must not be harvested.
Heatwave and health
The heatwave can cause problems for people’s health. Exposure to heat carries with it different risks for different individuals. Risk groups are above all elderly people, the chronically ill, people with disabilities, young children, pregnant women and people on medication.
The Government has ongoing contact with the relevant government agencies and local authorities. The Ministry of Health and Social Affairs holds weekly meetings with the Public Health Agency of Sweden, the National Board of Health and Welfare and the Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions. These meetings bring the Government up to date on what the government agencies are doing to help older people and others cope with the heat. The meetings will continue as long as the current situation persists.
Private individuals can contact their county council and 1177 Vårdguiden for information and advice about various heatwave-related health risks.
The Public Health Agency of Sweden provides advice for different target groups that can be used by municipalities, county councils, regions and private actors in health and medical care services.
High temperatures can influence the growth of bacteria in drinking water and food. The National Food Agency website has information and advice.
Water levels and water supply
The Government is closely following developments in groundwater levels and water supply and has continuous contact with the responsible agencies. Municipalities are responsible for the public supply of drinking water.
The Swedish Environmental Protection Agency provides general information about water shortages, drought and what measures people can take themselves.
The Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute (SMHI) and the Geological Survey of Sweden collaborate and provide continuous updates about the risk of water shortages in their ‘water shortage risk’ service.