AS the heatwave in Spain finally begins to ease as temperatures drop for the first time in more than eight days, the true cost of the hot weather has emerged.

At least 360 people died as a direct consequence of the heatwave between Sunday July 10 and Friday July 15, according to data released by the Carlos III Institute for Health.

On Friday alone, 123 deaths were recorded as the mercury soared to above 40ºC across much of Spain.

Among the heatwave fatalities was a council rubbish collector in Madrid who dropped dead while sweeping the streets at 5.30pm on Friday.

The death of José Antonio González, 60, while on the job has highlighted the plight of those who have to work through the heatwave.

Madrid’s council workers have denounced the difficult working conditions of street refuse collectors.

Spain’s Ministry of Health and Civil Protection group has issued general guidelines to protect the public during a heatwave.

They recommended limiting exposure to the sun, staying in well-ventilated places, eating light, regular meals rich in water and mineral salts, such as fruit and vegetables, and drinking water or liquids frequently.

Although temperatures began to drop on Monday, July 18 bringing an end to the eight-day long heatwave, Spain’s weather agency predicts it will bring only a brief respite as temperatures are set to soar again later this month.


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