Experts to Discuss Climate Change Health Risks: WHO

by Gopalan on  June 29, 2007 at 12:50 PM Environmental Health   - G J E 4
International experts will discuss health threats in the Asia-Pacific from global warming at a meeting to be held in Malaysia from July 2, the World Health Organisation said Thursday.
Experts to Discuss Climate Change Health Risks: WHO
Experts to Discuss Climate Change Health Risks: WHO

Climate change contributes directly or indirectly to about 77,000 deaths per year in the region, according to WHO estimates.

"We have now reached a critical stage in which global warming has already seriously impacted lives and health, and this problem will pose an even greater threat to mankind in coming decades if we fail to act now," Shigeru Omi, the WHO's Western Pacific regional director, said in the statement.

Potential threats include malaria and dengue fever due to the proliferation of mosquitoes, while reduced rainfall and water shortage could lead to waterborne diseases, the UN health agency said.

The meeting in Malaysia would discuss prompt action, it added.

"With global mean temperature forecast to increase by as much as six degrees celsius (42.8 fahrenheit) by the end of the century, delegates will be urged to take steps now to face the problem," the body said in a statement.

"Millions of people could be at risk of malnutrition and hunger if arable lands become unworkable," it added.

Representatives from 14 countries and WHO partners are expected to attend the four-day workshop.

Key findings will be shared at an environment and health meeting in Bangkok, Thailand on August 8 and 9 attended by health ministers from 14 Asian countries.

Source: AFP

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