Spain Records Highest Death Toll from Heatwave
The heat wave currently affecting many parts of Europe has severely impacted public life from forests to cities. The result of the extreme heat has been an alarming death toll, particularly in Spain. Pedro Sanchez, Spain’s Prime Minister has disclosed that over 500 people have lost their lives as a result of climate change–induced climate disruptions. Spain’s high temperature in the last ten days, marking its highest ever heatwave death toll ever.
Speaking on Wednesday, Sánchez cited data from the Carlos III Health Institute released on Monday. While the institute emphasizes these figures are statistical estimates and not official death records, Sánchez stressed that high temperatures have caused these deaths, calling the situation a climate emergency.
Temperatures in Spain Exceed 45 Degrees, Sparking Forest Fires
Spain has been among the countries hardest-hit by this summer’s heat wave, with temperatures often surpassing 45 degC (113 degF). Extreme heat has ignited at least two forest fires, displacing thousands of people and leading to multiple forest fires across California. A firefighter and a shepherd were burned in a fire in northwestern Spain.
Deadliest Heat Wave Since 1975
Meteorological agency AEMET reported on Wednesday that the heatwave recorded in Spain between July 9 and 18 was one of the hottest summers ever. According to AEMET spokeswoman Beatriz Harvela, it was the third most intense and extensive heatwave recorded since 1975. Two other heatwaves lasted longer; one in July 2015 for 26 days and August 2003 with 16 days.