Climate crisis ‘threatens people’s health’

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According to a European Environment Agency (EEA) report, the climate crisis is exacerbating floods and droughts and reducing water quality. This poses an increasing threat to people’s health.

In the report published on Wednesday, the Copenhagen-based EU authority calls for swift action and better coordination between governments and authorities to limit or prevent health risks.

According to the EEA, 5,582 deaths caused by floods and 702 deaths caused by forest fires were recorded in 32 European countries between 1980 and 2022. According to the EEA report, one in eight people in Europe lives in areas prone to flooding. One in nine hospitals in Europe is located in areas with a risk of flooding. In southern Europe, one in three people is exposed to water shortages due to heat and drought.

‘Implement guidelines in a more targeted manner.
Climate change will expose people to even more extreme weather conditions, with ‘serious health consequences,’ according to the EEA. Elderly people, children, people in poor health, lower-income groups, farmers, and rescue workers are most affected by floods, droughts, forest fires, and waterborne diseases and pathogens.
The Boretto Bridge over the dried-up riverbed of the Po in Italy in summer 2022
‘Protecting people’s lives and health from the effects of climate change, including droughts, floods, and deteriorating water quality, is paramount and urgent,’ the report states.

Existing European climate, water, and health legislation already provide a solid basis. However, they need to be ‘implemented more comprehensively and systematically.’ Because some population groups and countries are affected more or differently than others, fair and targeted measures are needed, according to the EEA.

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