July 2, 2022

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Seville will classify heat waves that are dangerous to people's health

Seville will classify heat waves that are dangerous to people’s health

“The high temperatures that rocked Seville in mid-June were the worst heat wave this month on record in the past 20 years.” This came on the day the demo system was presented to PROMETEO . PROJECT. This initiative places Seville at the “global vanguard in the fight against climate change,” a problem that has caused 1,300 deaths in Spain according to data provided by the international organization it leads. “No one questions climate change,” the mayor of Seville, Antonio Muñoz, began speaking at the presentation of the project. “In Seville, (global warming) is manifested through heat waves,” he added.

Andalusia’s largest public hospital runs out of air conditioners in the heat of the heat wave

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This project, they explained, categorizes heat waves in the city based on their impact on people’s health, which, in theory, would help take real and effective measures with the goal of “minimizing the impact of that whim.” Adding health workers to emergency rooms, opening air-conditioned shelters or prioritizing city cooling are some of the actions that can be taken in the city of Seville based on ProMETEO data. This pilot project, which does not have a municipal budget because it is a cooperation agreement for the development of the initiative, will be implemented for a period of one year.

The categories will be divided into five categories: very high risk, high risk, medium risk, low risk and no impact. Extreme heat waves will have their own name that will begin with the last letter of the Spanish alphabet, and the first five will be named Zoe, Yago, Xenia, Wenceslao, and Vega. This will raise public awareness and take action on how to deal with the extreme heat. Actions can also be carried out by municipal government and city businesses. It is a wake-up call to warn of this meteorological phenomenon, as it has for a long time with hurricanes, storms and heavy snowfall.

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The Meteorological Agency will be the first to warn (as always) of the arrival of a heat wave. From there, the ProMETEO project will be notified of the phenomenon, after which the heat wave classification will be determined based on historical characteristics recorded over the past 25 years. The media will transmit the said information, in the event that there is a very high risk to people, and citizens will take measures that will serve to prevent “mortality and health damage”.

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Cathy Baughman, Director of the Resilience Center Adrienne Arsht-Rockefeller Foundation, declared this project “good” because it will serve to alert citizens to high temperatures, with the aim of transforming cities into “better and safer” spaces. In his speech during the presentation in Seville, Mauricio Rodas, a member of the same center and former mayor of Quito, denounced that “Heat waves are the natural phenomenon that infects and kills more people in the world, than all other natural disasters as a whole.

Seville is part of a group of cities committed to anti-heat projects and actions, including Athens, Miami, Monterrey and Melbourne. This project will protect citizens, especially the most vulnerable groups, and the economic sectors of the municipalities. “This also affects people who are energy-poor,” the Mayor of Seville stated. Muñoz judged that “the city has to respond to climate change”.

“Seville in the face of climate change”

Seville joined the Alliance of Extreme Heat Elasticity (EHRA) in October 2021. This alliance, created in 2020, builds resilience in the face of extreme heat and is made up of leaders and experts to analyze the economic and humanitarian situation caused by rising temperatures. Technical assistance is provided to cities to protect their residents with tangible solutions. This initiative aims to help one billion people by 2030.

The ProMETEO initiative is led by the Atlantic Council’s Adrienn Arsht-Rockefeller Resilience Center in collaboration with the Seville City Council, the Spanish Meteorological Agency, the University of Seville (US), the University of Pablo de Olavid (UPO), the Carlos III Institute and the Spanish Climate Change Office and the Day After Alliance, Contry also said in a statement.