updated 6/22/2007 10:00:56 PM ET 2007-06-23T02:00:56

Southeastern Europe baked under soaring temperatures Friday, with nearly 30 deaths across the region blamed on the year’s first major heat wave. Electricity supplies, particularly in Greece and Albania, were strained as air conditioning use spiked.

Temperatures reached 104 degrees in Athens on Friday, with a top recorded temperature of 113 degrees on the island of Rhodes, according to state NET television.

Romania was particularly hard hit. Nineteen people have died of heat-related causes in the past few days, including 14 in the capital, Bucharest, the country’s Health Ministry said.

In Serbia, doctors said at least seven people had died in recent days of heat-related causes. In neighboring Macedonia, officials said they had fielded numerous calls from elderly people suffering cardiac and asthma problems.

To the south in Albania, at least three people died due to heat, including a 43-year-old mother of four who collapsed while tending her fields. Hundreds of children in Kucove, 70 miles south of the capital, Tirana, were taken to health care units, while the Health Ministry ordered air conditioned emergency rooms to be set up around the country.

Parts of Tirana have also suffered nine-hour power cuts this week, as hydroelectric reservoir levels remain low after a parched winter. Evangelos Lekatsas, who oversees Greece’s electrical grid, said Greece had increased electricity exports to Albania to help it cope.

But Greece itself faced power problems, with parts of the country suffering blackouts for the fourth day running. The state power company appealed to the public to limit electricity use.

Temperatures in parts of the country are expected to reach 109.4 degrees this weekend, some of the highest temperatures since the record-breaking summer of 1987, when hundreds of people died due to the heat.

Associated Press writers in Tirana, Skopje, Bucharest and Belgrade contributed to this story.

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