SPAIN’S Prime Minister, Pedro Sanchez, has claimed that the current heatwave has claimed over 500 lives.

Spain has been gripped by a heatwave affecting much of Western Europe, which pushed temperatures as high as 45 degrees in some regions last week, sparking dozens of wildfires.

Speaking on Wednesday during a visit to Zaragoza area firefighters, Sanchez said: “During this heatwave, more than 500 people died because of such high temperatures, according to the statistics.”

The Prime Minister was referring to a the Carlos III Health Institute estimate based on excess mortality rates.

“I ask citizens to exercise extreme caution as the climate emergency is a reality,” said Sanchez.

The Institute estimates the number of heat-related deaths based on the number of excess deaths when compared to the average in previous years.

It has not qualified these figures in recent days, stressing that it was a statistical estimate and not a record of official deaths.

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