The planet is hot: more than 1,200 deaths in the Spanish oven

The planet is hot: more than 1200 deaths in the Spanish oven


MADRID, Spain | It is under a blazing sun and temperatures that can exceed 40 °C that thousands of workers have to s in Spain.

“It's easily between 5°C and 10 C warmer there than outside, so maybe 45 °C, 47  °C. It's very difficult to work, but we have no choice,” Angel Gutierrez Agudo, who runs a kiosk selling newspapers and souvenirs on Calle Grand Vía, the most famous avenue de Madrid.

Behind his counter, two fans help him get through his seven hours of daily work.

“I also drink a lot of water, but it takes a long time,” adds the young man.

To die of heat

Since the July 9, Spain breaks temperature records. Some regions have seen the mercury soar to 45°C.

According to data from the State Meteorological Agency (AEMET), this is the first such extreme heat wave to occur. fell on the country, reported the daily El Pais.

In the country's capital, 40 °C was exceeded several times until July 18, and led to more than 1,200 deaths, according to government data.

Among the victims , at least three workers who caught heatstroke, including a 60-year-old Madrid street cleaner, José Antonio Gonzáles.

“With the heat and the work, the companies and the town hall did not think about the health of the workers until there was a death. It's when a colleague dies that they start doing things,” regrets Luis Agudo, communication secretary of the Limpiezas union, which represents employees in charge of street maintenance.

Besides the deaths are also hospitalizations and dozens of heat strokes that are reported to the union, says Mr. Agudo.

Vulnerable people

In the Plaza Mayor yesterday, as the sun reached its zenith, workers of Pakistani origin suffered martyrdom in mascot costumes.

“We're having trouble breathing, we're extremely hot, but we have no choice but to be there. We have to earn something to eat”, drops the man dressed as Luigi, who asked to remain anonymous.

“Fortunately, he is still a little less warmer than last week,” says his colleague, alias Mickey Mouse.

For her part, María Calles, a 73-year-old from Madrid, is struggling to get through these episodes of heat.

“I try to stay cool, but I still have to go out. And outside it's so hot that the ground is hot and makes my legs swell. I hope it will be over soon,” she confides. streets of the Spanish capital do everything to find the slightest moment of respite from the heat and the sun.

On the sidewalks of Calle Grand Vía, Madrid's famous avenue, people jostle to walk in the shade.

Some take breaks by leaning on the buildings. Others brave the sun armed with an umbrella for protection.

Lots of bottled water

Angel Gutierrez Agudo works seven hours a day in his kiosk in the heart of Madrid, whose temperature regularly exceeds 45°C.

Souvenir and newspaper kiosks sell something other than their flagship products.

“I've been selling more than 80 bottles of water a day for some time now, it's really a lot more than usual,” Angel Gutierrez Agudo, who runs the gable business, told Journal on the street on the main avenue.

Passersby disappear

With the heat, he notices that the passers-by are much fewer.

“ It is especially in the evening that you see people going out. They are waiting for the temperature to become pleasant again,” he adds.

Outside the very touristy city center and its air-conditioned shops, some neighborhoods looked abandoned. The streets are empty, the few parks too.

The curtains are drawn, the shutters closed: everything to prevent the heat from penetrating inside.


On restaurant terraces, there is no time to quench your thirst with a glass or pitcher of sangria. Many patrons enjoy the shade of the umbrella and misters.

Even the Tim Hortons in downtown Madrid is a great place to enjoy the air-conditioning and iced coffees.

In the evening, the city comes alive and residents go out to enjoy the restaurants and the slightly milder temperature, even if it is 33 °C, at 11 p.m.

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