Spanish heatwave death toll climbs to seven

 

The death toll from a heatwave in southwestern Spain has risen to at least seven.

Officials warn that temperatures hovering around 42 degrees Celsius threaten to intensify raging forest fires.

Two men, aged 71 and 77, died in Cordoba last night, according to the Health Service of Andalucia.

In Huelva, a 39-year-old man died after being found in the street in a coma next to his bicycle. Another 53-year-old man also died.

The fatalities follow three heat-related deaths in Granada, Cordoba and Seville.

Another 12 people have been taken to hospital in Andalucia with symptoms of heat stroke.

A heat wave has seared Andalucia and Extremadura since last Thursday, with temperatures reaching 46 degrees Celsius on Friday and hovering around 42 degrees Celsius today.

But the figures are similar to those of previous summers and should not cause alarm, said a Health Service spokeswoman.

The heatwave has intensified forest fires in five southern and western Spanish provinces since Thursday. News reports warn that the worst forest fires in Portugal for 20 years are spreading to the neighbouring Spanish region of Extremadura.

PA