The Red Cross has warned that continuing high temperatures are leading to an increase in emergency interventions, in some cases up to 74% more than in 2017. The sustained high temperatures are leading to an increase in cases of, for example, dehydration, but the main complaint is sunburn. At the festival Rock Werchter, the Red Cross had to intervene 8,200 times, compared to only 4,700 times last year. Even in the heatwave year of 2009, the total only reached 7,000.
The biggest problems: people don’t drink enough (alcohol has the opposite effect from that desired, and aids dehydration) and don’t use enough sun-cream. Sun-cream aslo has to be regularly re-applied, but even then, its effect is not everlasting. Clothing, in the end, is more effective than any SPF factor, the organisation advises.
The Red Cross offers festival-goers, including those involved in the Gentse Feesten, which have just started, three main pieces of advice:
Drink enough; Wear loose-fitting clothes; and Stay out of direct sunlight at the warmest hours of the day.
Meanwhile in Brussels, the Samusocial – the city’s agency for looking after the homeless – has issued an appeal for new partners to supply bottled water for the homeless in these sultry times.
The last year of scandal surrounding the organisation led some partners to break contact with Samusocial, which has led to a shortage in supplies at an important time of the year. The organisation, which operates in Brussels-City, has estimated it faces a shortage of 15,000 bottles of water for homeless people over the course of the summer.
Samusocial has now launched a video in which a homeless man is seen sitting under a snowfall holding a sign which reads, “Don’t wait until winter to help us out”.