Wednesday, May 21, 2008

WHO chief says the world faces three threats

Voice of A yearly meeting of all the member countries in the World Health Organization is this week in Geneva, Switzerland. Delegates from the one hundred ninety-three countries discuss progress and set policy for the coming year. The W.H.O., a United Nations agency, is sixty years old this year. But Director-General Margaret Chan, as she opened the World Health Assembly, noted that the delegates are meeting at a time of tragedy. She expressed sympathy to the millions of people affected by the recent cyclone in Burma, also known as Myanmar, and the earthquake in China.

Doctor Chan said three crises lie ahead that are international security threats and will all affect human health. One is food security, another is climate change and the third is the threat of a worldwide outbreak of influenza.

…The W.H.O. chief said climate change will also hit the poor the hardest but, to a greater or lesser extent, will affect all countries. She said more droughts, floods and storms mean greater demands for humanitarian aid. And she warned it will mean a growing number of environmental refugees.

Margaret Chan photo from the WHO website

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