‘More than 500 died’ during Spain’s heatwave: PM

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez confirmed Wednesday that "more than 500 people" died during a 10-day heatwave in Spain, one of the most intense ever recorded in the country.

heatwave spain deaths
Only two other heatwaves in Spain have lasted longer - one in July 2015 that lasted 26 days and another in August 2003 that went on for 16 days.(Photo by FRED DUFOUR / AFP)

Sánchez cited figures released Monday from the Carlos III Health Institute which estimates the number of heat-related deaths based on the number of excess deaths when compared to the average in previous years.

The institute has stressed that these figures are a statistical estimate and not a record of official deaths.

“During this heatwave, more than 500 people died because of such high temperatures, according to the statistics,” Sánchez said.

READ MORE: Why have so many died during this heatwave in Spain?

“I ask citizens to exercise extreme caution,” he said, noting that the “climate emergency is a reality”.

Spain was gripped by a heatwave affecting much of Western Europe which pushed temperatures as high as 45 degrees Celsius (113 degrees Fahrenheit) in some regions last week, sparking dozens of wildfires.

MAP: Where are Spain’s wildfires raging?

The blazes forced the evacuation of thousands of people and claimed at least two lives — that of a firefighter and a shepherd who got caught up in the flames in northwest Spain.

The July 9th-18th heatwave was one of the most intense ever recorded in Spain, meteorological agency AEMET said Wednesday.

“At a minimum, it is the third most intense heatwave in terms of its geographic extension and duration” since modern records began in 1975, AEMET spokeswoman Beatriz Hervella said.

Only two other heatwaves lasted longer – one in July 2015 that lasted 26 days and another in August 2003 that went on for 16 days, she added.

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640 flights cancelled as storm Hermine hits Spain’s Canary Islands

Torrential rains and high winds prompted the cancellation of more than 640 Canary Islands flights over the previous 36 hours, Spain's AENA airports operator said on Monday.

640 flights cancelled as storm Hermine hits Spain's Canary Islands

Most of the cancellations took place on Sunday, when 540 flights to and from the Atlantic archipelago had to be axed and another 54 rerouted as tropical storm Hermine battered the islands.

By 8:40 am (1040 GMT) on Monday, another 102 flights to and from the islands had been cancelled while six others were re-routed to other destinations, AENA said in an update on Twitter.

Most of the cancellations affected the two airports on Tenerife, the largest of the Spanish islands, which are located off the northwestern coast of Morocco.

AEMET said the rain would continue on Monday but would be “less intense” than at the weekend, saying the downpour had resulted in the islands’ “wettest
September on record”.