Rhine river starts drying up as Europe faces worst drought in 500 YEARS!

The Rhine river, which starts in the Swiss Alps, has been affected by soaring temperatures and almost no rainfall

Rhine river starts drying up as Europe faces worst drought in 500 YEARS!
The Rhine river is an important commercial waterway for Germany but since levels in the river dropped, cargo vessels have been unable to operate (Photo by Andreas Rentz/Getty Images)
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COLOGNE, GERMANY: High temperatures and minimal rainfall have contributed to the way Rhine River is drying up as Europe faces its worst drought in 500 years and France is wrecked by wildfires.

The river starts in the Swiss Alps before running through Germany and Netherlands and empties into the North Sea. It is also Germany's commercial transportation artery, causing delays in shipping and escalating freight costs.

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One of the continent's main waterways, the Rhine has been subjected to soaring temperatures and climate change across Europe. The water levels in rivers, lakes and reservoirs are running low, some even dry, as the drought threatens to harm river freight, tourism and crop yields. In Spain, farmers fear this drought might reduce olive oil output by nearly a third, while In Germany, cargo vessels cannot sail along the Rhine.

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In this aerial photo, the Po river flows in Calendasco on July 18, 2022 in Piacenza, Italy. A state of emergency was declared in five northern regions amid a worsening drought, as Italy experiences an early heatwave and a lack of rainfall.
In this aerial photo, the Po river flows in Calendasco on July 18, 2022 in Piacenza, Italy. A state of emergency was declared in five northern regions amid a worsening drought, as Italy experiences an early heatwave and a lack of rainfall. (Photo by Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images)

Meanwhile, Italy's longest river, the Po, has declared a state of emergency in July for surroundng areas that depend on its waters. Many scientists believe the blistering temperatures are in line with the growing frequency and intensity of severe weather episodes in Europe. 

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A worker runs away when a forest fire that has hit the lumber factory where he works on July 13, 2022 in Albergaria a Velha, Portugal. Wildfires have swept across the central part of the country amid temperatures exceeding 40 degrees celsius.
A worker runs away when a forest fire that has hit the lumber factory where he works on July 13, 2022 in Albergaria a Velha, Portugal. Wildfires have swept across the central part of the country amid temperatures exceeding 40 degrees celsius. (Photo by Octavio Passos/Getty Images)

Wildfires continued to roll through France's southwestern Gironde region on August 10, destroying homes and leading to forced evacuation of its residents, some of whom climbed onto rooftops for safety. As many as 1,000 firefighters are trying to stop the fire which has razed more than 6,000 hectares and is still not in control. Meanwhile, in the village of Hostens in the Gironde, the police is doing a door to door campaign telling residents to leave as the fire grows. A resident, Camille Delay fled with her partner and son, taking their two cats, chickens and house insurance papers with them.

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Firefighters from France battle to extinguish a wildfire in Afidnes area northern Athens on August 6 2021 in Athens, Greece. People were evacuated from their homes after a wildfire reached residential areas of northern Athens as were recorded at 42 degrees Celsius. (107.6 Fahrenheit).
ATHENS, GREECE - AUGUST 6: Firefighters from France battle to extinguish a wildfire in Afidnes area northern Athens on August 6 2021 in Athens, Greece. People were evacuated from their homes after a wildfire reached residential areas of northern Athens as were recorded at 42 degrees Celsius. (107.6 Fahrenheit). (Photo by Milos Bicanski/Getty Images)

Camille said, "everyone in the village climbed onto their rooftops to see what was happening - within ten minutes a little twist of smoke became enormous," describing the blaze as "rampant". According to the firefighters, more evacuations are likely to take place, but some Hostens residents are reluctant to leave their homes. 18 year old Allisson Horan, who is staying behind with her father said, "it's complicated to go with the dogs and we cannot leave them here," adding that, "I'm getting worried because the fire is in a plot of land behind ours and the wind is starting to change direction."

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The Gironde wildfire is just one of the many that have broken out across Europe. In Portugal, nearly 1,200 firefighters backed by eight aircraft battled a fire that broke out in the mountainous Covilha area that burned more than 3,000 hectares of forest since Saturday, August 6.

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