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Climate becomes major Swedish election issue after wildfires

AFP  |  Stockholm 

Sweden's wildfires and have caused the environment to become the second most important issue after immigration for before the September 9 general election, a poll showed today.

The heatwave and triggered dozens of wildfires, from the south up to the as the country registered the hottest month of July in two centuries, with temperatures hovering around 30 degrees Celsius (86 Fahrenheit).

The Nordic nation, where summer temperatures are usually closer to 23 Celsius, is not equipped to deal with this kind of natural catastrophe and asked for help from Italy, Germany, Norway, Denmark, and

An opinion poll carried out by the Swedish consultancy Demoskop between August 2 and 7 showed that 16 per cent of respondents saw the environment as the most important issue, replacing health care on 13 per cent.

"It's a shame that and fires had to happen in order for the environment to become a major issue," Michael Arthursson, of the Centre party, told the Daily Expressen, which published the poll today.

According to Swedish officials, around 20,000 hectares of forests were burned.

The government last week announced 1.2 billion kronor (117 million euros, USD 137 million in aid to help farmers hit hard by the drought.

Emergency services SOS Alarm said there were seven wildfires across the nation today. No casualties have been reported so far and foreign firefighters have left the country.

According to the Demoskop poll, immigration is still the most important issue for voters at 23 per cent in Swedne which has registered around 400,000 asylum requests since 2012, a record in

For Sweden's Isabella Lovin, climate change and immigration can go hand in hand.

"If we don't do something about the climate threats then we're going to have hundreds of millions of refugees fleeing hurricanes, drought and crop failures," she told

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, August 09 2018. 18:45 IST