Authorities in Romania have warned that wildfires across the country have led to hundreds of deadly cases of fallen leaves at the first signs of rain, leading to a deadly frenzy among parents and even children desperate to fetch any remaining seeds.
The raids have been on over the last few days, with the BNR radio station citing the incidents as “a human tragedy where people are killing trees in a frenzy.”
Some parents have taken part in the raid with little children, including one in which a person dropped leaves in a school.
“I saw a boy thinking he could find some of the fallen leaves by touching them,” Violin Varga, director of the premier National Prescriptions office, told the reports. “I was afraid and I feared that this may have killed the boy.”
Varga told local media that an avalanche of requests for prescriptions led to nationalizations of agricultural sprays, which in turn spread the fall-off of leaves throughout the country.
Although the official tally of death has not been released, there have been unconfirmed reports of up to 400 fatalities.
Some have been victims of “witches’ wages” having stopped simply counting leaves themselves, instead.