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Southern Europe Sweltering in Record Heat

Southern Europe sweltered in recordbreaking heat Wednesday amid forest fires, power blackouts and a growing toll of deaths attributed to high temperatures. Stefan Bos reports from Budapest authorities in Hungary and across Southern Europe are struggling to bring relief to the people.

Air conditioners in Budapest offices are working overtime as temperatures outside reach record levels.

Hungarian health officials worry heat, which has reached 42 degrees centigrade, is contributing to the death of hundreds of people, especially those elderly who do not have access to air-conditioning.

Hungary's chief medical officer, Ferenc Falus, says the government has issued the highest level of alert, urging people to stay indoors as much as possible.

He says there is some easing of temperatures, but the government expects the record heat to return by Friday.

The heat has claimed at least 33 lives in Romania, and fires caused by the heat have burned down thousands of hectares of forest in Bulgaria, Macedonia, Serbia, Italy and Greece.

Countries in the western Balkans, including Albania, Macedonia and Montenegro, have experienced widespread power shortages, as demands for electricity surpass the dwindling supply. Albania has cut both the supply of electricity and water to cope with growing shortages.

Greek and Italian officials have called in thousands of firefighters to battle forest fires that are raging out of control.

Meteorologists say there is no rain in the forecast for Southern Europe.