Spanish President warns of very difficult weeks with extreme temperatures

by Lorraine Williamson
extreme temperatures

MADRID – Prime Minister Sánchez said the climate emergency is “deadly”. However, the “ignorance and denial in the light of scientific and civilian evidence is more deadly”. According to him, citizens in rural areas can confirm this in light of the recent extreme temperatures.

Sánchez spoke these words on Friday during a media meeting at the National Centre for Emergency Surveillance and Coordination (CENEM). That was after a meeting of the firefighting service chaired by the prime minister. 

According to Sánchez, who appeared with Interior Minister Grande-Marlaska, “very difficult” weeks and days with “extreme” temperatures are ahead. That’s why he asks for “extreme caution” because that’s the best way to avoid the effects of these heatwaves. 

“Forest fires like the ones we have seen in Spain in recent weeks are causing devastation. And, furthermore, loss both from a material and emotional point of view. They are also causing havoc from a rich biodiversity point of view. Furthermore, we have also had two human losses, multiple injuries and evacuations,” he said. the prime minister. 

80,000 hectares burned during two heat waves 

Sánchez said it is estimated that “more than 80,000 hectares” were lost to wildfires during the country’s two heatwaves. Added to the surface that went up in flames earlier this year, the total comes to “122,000 hectares” destroyed. 

Also read: Why is Spain on fire?

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“The government is committed day and night to fighting fires through the civil defence and we will spare no resources to protect civilians.” 

On this point, the president of the government has asked both institutions and citizens to “think”. According to him, “it is clear” that the planet is “going through a climatic emergency”. He, therefore, emphasised that it is also “clear that this climatic emergency is behind the heatwaves. And that many of these large fires are partly caused by these this.” 

The Prime Minister added that the government has approved a national firefighting plan that requires the cooperation, professionalism and dedication of twelve ministries. In addition, he emphasised the “professionalism and dedication in times of great stress” of the entire civil protection system as well as the “necessary participation of the third sector”. 

“Spain has a civil protection system that we can be proud of. There is a lot of work ahead of us, it is new generation fires due to the climatic emergency that we are experiencing and it is the government’s commitment not to spend any resources save to extinguish the fires and restore what was lost,” concluded Sánchez. 

Criticism of the way governments handle fires 

In recent weeks, there has also been a lot of criticism of the various authorities from both firefighters and citizens in connection with the major forest fires. The most common accusation is that budget cuts have been made in recent years, especially in forest management and the fire service, as a result of which the forest firefighting services are faced with shortages of personnel and equipment. In addition, preventive forest maintenance would be neglected, allowing fires to develop much faster thanks to an abundance of fuel. 

Also read: Almost 700 die in first week of heatwave in Spain

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