Heat wave leaves more than 500 dead in Spain

Heat wave leaves more than 500 dead in Spain

Heat wave was one of the strongest recorded in the country

The heat wave that hit the Spain in recent days it was one of the strongest recorded in the country, according to provisional data, and caused numerous fires, with a new worrying focus in the region of Aragon (northeast) in recent hours.

This heat wave, which lasted from July 9 to 18, was “the one that presented the greatest anomaly” in temperature recorded in the country since the beginning of the historical series in 1975, according to Beatriz Hervella, a spokeswoman for AEMET.

Considered a kind of indicator of the power of the heat wave episode, the anomaly is the difference between the temperature that marks the beginning of the heat wave and the maximum recorded during the episode. During this latest wave, the value was 4.2 degrees, the highest number ever.

“We are talking about at least the third [onda de calor] in length and duration and that number could still increase,” added Hervella.

With these data, this wave would only be behind the one recorded in July 2015, which lasted 26 days, and the one in August 2003, which lasted 16 days.

The intense heat of recent days favored the development of numerous fires, such as the one registered in the province of Zamora (northwest), where a firefighter and a shepherd died.

With the situation now more controlled in this region destroyed twice by fire in the last month, the concern has spread to other points, such as Calatayud, in the province of Zaragoza (Aragon, northeast), where the flames declared on Monday affect a perimeter of 14 thousand hectares.

About 1,700 people were displaced from their homes and the fire came to interrupt the circulation of high-speed trains between Madrid and Barcelona, ​​which has now resumed, although it still remains on other blocked roads.

Other foci are also advancing in various parts of the extensive region of Castilla y León (central west) and Galicia (northwest).

This Wednesday, the president of the government, Pedro Sánchez, on a visit to the Aragon region, announced that the heat wave in Spain had killed “more than 500 people”.

“During this heat wave, according to records, more than 500 people died as a result of the high temperatures,” Sánchez said, referring to an estimate of mortality carried out by a public health institute.

“I ask citizens to take extreme precautions”, urged the socialist president, who repeated that “the climate emergency is a reality” and that “climate change kills”.

Sánchez has used similar terms on other occasions during this latest heat wave that left highs of 45 degrees Celsius in some regions and fueled several fires that devastated tens of thousands of hectares across the country.

The number of deaths that Sánchez cited is a reference to estimates made by the public institute Carlos III, which makes a statistical calculation of the increase in mortality from precise causes, such as the rise in temperature, comparing these numbers with historical statistical series.

The institute qualified these numbers in recent days and stressed that it is a statistical estimate and not an official death record.

Source: AFP

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