The silent sky above the rumbling lands
the historical summer drought on the Hungarian Great Plain
People bathing in the lowered water level lake 'Balaton' during a summer heatwave. During heatwaves, people flee the cities for the waterfront.
And in the summer of this year, several heat waves hit the region and Hungary. Fully parched grasslands, forests and scrublands increase the potential for fires. The area burnt in Hungary has increased tenfold compared to last year, with 54% of fires affected agriculture.
Persistent heat waves are extremely stressful for people living in urban areas, especially the elderly, young children and people with cardiovascular diseases, causing extreme stress on the human body. Researchers say that unless we act now, these deadly climatic conditions could become the norm by the end of the century and according to the average climate scenarios (REMO-ECHAM5), two thirds area of Hungary will become semi-desert between 2050 and 2100.
Attila, a local fisherman, poses for a portrait on the parched lakeside.
I used to swim here last year, says Attila, a local fisherman who can´t remember the lake ever being so low.
The former fishing pier and the "Fairy of the lake" fishing boat in the dry lake bed. By mid-summer, the persistent drought had also caused problems in settlements around Budapest. Water storages and lakes either dried up or their water levels dropped drastically. For short periods of time, the water supply to the population was also disrupted.
Deep water marker buoy on dry. Lake Velencei is the second largest natural lake in Hungary. The lake´s water level has been steadily falling, ranging from 56 to 67 centimetres on 14 August.
In the Great Plain, the dry soil is covered with approximately 30 centimetres of sand and dust. A sandstorm is stirred up by the wind.
Pista, standing in his rye field, shows how much height rye should grow. The wheat he sowed in the spring was gone by the wind in a sandstorm.
István, a local farmer, looks at the dry irrigation canal bed.
In the background, a cornfield burnt out by drought.
Dust cloud from the soil. A deep layer of dust disturbed during force-harvesting.
Most farmers are forced to put their ruined crops into the ground because the summer drought.
The last time it rained was seven months ago. But the winter was also dry. This year´s wheat harvest is below average, and even though the wheat is only knee-high, we have to harvest it now because the grains have sprouted. Our damage is at least 10 million HUF. I do not know what we will sow in the autumn, says Gábor.
When we come out into our fields, we can hear the earth roaring as it cracks.
The parched soil is so hard that if it doesn't rain by the time we have to plough, the plough will break, says Gábor a local farmer.
Uncle Feri, sheep farmer.
Empty corral, closed farm.
Márti, cow keeper posing leaning against their empty corral.
A tired horse rests on the sunburnt grass. Neither horses nor cows, sheeps can find food on the burnt grassland.
Orgoványi volunteer firefighters pose for the photo before a fire drill.
Fully parched grasslands, forests and scrublands increase the potential danger for fires. In Hungary, the number of burnt areas increased tenfold compared to last year and the number of agricultural fires increased by 50%.
Wood burnt out in a forest fire. The cause of the fire is thought to have been a piece of glass, which acted as a magnifying lens to focus the heat onto the dry bushes.
Imre posing leans against the wall of a farmhouse burnt down in a forest fire
Ákos looks at the ten hectares of forest that burned down on 13 July.
The flames were only contained 2 kilometres from Ákos' farm.
Aunt Margit tries to survive the urban heatwave in her darkened room.
Older people are particularly at risk from prolonged heat stress.
Persistent heat waves are also a problem in cities. In Szolnok, the water level of the Tisza reached record lows. Causing several sandbanks to rise and for a short period occur the possibility of water restrictions.
'Angel' Ildikó cover her head with a shadener.