SPAIN’s annual heatwave claims more lives every year than any other natural phenomenon according to recent government statistics.

The Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergencies have revealed the shocking statistics as the country basks in 40+ degree temperatures.

High temperatures were added to the list of natural risks in 2003 and joins other emergencies such as floods, extreme weather and forest fires.

Since then, of the 1,049 deaths recorded on the database of natural deaths, heat has been the cause of 291 of those.

Second on the list is floods which claimed 209 lives, some of which occurred during the Gota Fria phenomenon which swept across Andalucia last year.

Also on the list were sea storms (173), forest fires (118), strong winds (110), avalanches (50) and lightning (29).

In 2003, the year which heat statistics began to be officially recorded, Spain was gripped by an unnaturally high heatwave which killed 60 people from the effects of extremely high temperatures.

Since 2003, the yearly death rates have dropped significantly with just 21 reported in 2019, however the government maintains emergency protocols between June and September to keep the death rates low.

The ‘National Plan for Preventive Actions of the Effects of Excess Temperatures on Health’s’ aim is to promote healthy living during the summer heatwave and to remind people of the risks of prolonged sun exposure.

Primary advice is to always stay hydrated, with water or isotonic drinks and to avoid alcoholic drinks during the middle of the day.

Also limiting exposure to the sun and taking regular breaks if you are sunbathing or working in the sun.

Exhaustive activities are to be avoided between 12pm and 6pm and the use of adequate sun creams is strongly advised.

As the country opens back up to tourism, Spain is currently well and truly gripped in a heatwave as temperatures as high as 43.9 have been recorded in Cordoba province.

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