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Out of the many consequences of the exceptional and never-ending heat wave we are suffering, the death of many people is the most extreme. On Monday, when the numbers are updated, we will see how many citizens have lost their lives but, according to the Charles III Health Institute, which reports to the Spanish ministry of Health, up to Friday 360 deaths due to the high temperatures in the first six days of the heatwave had been reported in Spain —from the 10th to the 15th of July—, four of them in Catalonia. The death toll peaked on Friday, with 123 deaths, although over the weekend temperatures continued to be very high and even increased in some areas. The climate emergency is not the future, it is a reality.

Temperatures of 40 degrees Celsius have been normal throughout Catalonia, and in some areas they have been even higher, close to 45 degrees. The Spanish government activated the heatwave alert and announced that extreme measures will be in force for a few more days, as this heat spell's ending is not yet in sight. On top of this, a fire broke out this Sunday at Pont de Vilomara, in Bages (Barcelona), which has already burned 1,000 hectares and could potentially burn 6,000 hectares should the firefighters not be able to control it.

Bearing in mind how dry Catalonia's forests are, due to the absence of rain for some time now, coupled with an unpropitious spring, we must cross our fingers, as so far the expertise and professionalism of the firefighters and a bit of luck have ensured the burnt area is not exceptionally high. In the future, complementary measures to significantly reduce the number of deaths caused by these heat spells must be considered, because while they were once non-existent or very exceptional, everything points to climate change leading us towards a delicate and much more compromised situation in the coming years.

The administrations' current plans to suspend activities, open swimming pools for longer hours and recommend that people do not leave the house during the hottest periods are designed for different times, not for these prolonged heat spells. We will have to be more creative and allocate more resources, as the vast majority of homes are unprepared for this weather emergency. It is far from being a joke when there have been hundreds of deaths in the midst of a heat spell that is not only uncomfortable, but also significantly affects health.