Image: Belgrade children in river
Darko Vojinovic  /  AP
A child cools off Thursday in the Sava River in Belgrade, Serbia, where temperatures reached 104 degrees.
updated 7/23/2009 6:35:34 PM ET 2009-07-23T22:35:34

Authorities across parts of Eastern Europe urged people to stay indoors and drink plenty of water Thursday as a heat wave sent temperatures soaring.

In Serbia, independent B92 Television reported the first heat-related death, a 66-year-old man from the western town of Sabac who collapsed after riding a bicycle in the heat. There was no official confirmation of the report.

By midday, many nations in the region reported temperatures of 97 degrees Fahrenheit, with some at record levels.

In the Serbian capital of Belgrade, where dozens of people collapsed in the street due to the heat, city authorities handed out free drinking water in the main squares.

In neighboring Hungary, water was distributed in many cities, while municipal workers hosed down the streets of the capital Budapest to provide some relief.

Hungarian authorities also eased the official dress code for government employees, with men allowed to forego neckties and women pantyhose. Serbia's government, meanwhile, advised employers to cut hours for construction workers and others with outdoor jobs.

The Czech Republic reported record temperatures in many parts of the country. In the capital Prague, temperatures reached 93 degrees, beating records set in 1868 and 1929.

In Croatia, the Jutarnji list newspaper printed a map showing parts of the capital Zagreb where temperatures were lower, mostly in parks. Other media outlets advised people to wear light clothes and hats and to stay hydrated.

Mila Jelavic, Croatia's state ombudsman for children's rights, called on parents and professionals who care for youngsters to be particularly vigilant.

In Austria, the temperature peaked at 100 degrees Fahrenheit in Waidhofen an der Ybbs, a town in Lower Austria Province. In the capital Vienna, a temperature of 93.6 degrees Fahrenheit was recorded in the afternoon.

While relief was in sight for Austria and the Czech Republic, meteorologists predicted that temperatures in Serbia and Croatia would only begin to drop over the weekend.

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