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Europe's drought could be the worst in 500 years. What are the most affected countries at the moment?

Europe's drought could be the worst in 500 years. What are the most

The European Commission Research Center (EC-JRC) has warned that the current drought could be the worst in the last 500 years.

And it has predicted that severe drought will worsen in Europe, potentially reaching 47% of the continent.

The predictions were announced by senior researcher Andrea Toreti in an online press conference on Tuesday afternoon.

"We have not fully analyzed the phenomenon, because it is still ongoing, but based on my experience, I think this is probably even more extreme than 2018," he said.

Toreti said that the areas affected by drought and water scarcity will increase and that unless effective mitigation measures are taken this intensity and frequency will increase dramatically in Europe, both in the north and in the south.

Italy - in particular the Po River - is among the most affected, as well as southern France and large areas of Spain and Portugal.

France is in the midst of its fourth heat wave of the year: the government says rising temperatures and a lack of rain are causing its worst drought on record. Meteo France says the heatwave that started in the south is expected to spread across the country and last until the weekend.