Saturday, May 23, 2009

Poorest countries unprepared for impacts of climate change

Economic Times (India): The world's poorest nations are unprepared for the strain climate change will put on their public health systems, according to studies by the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) and its partners.

The findings came ahead of a major summit of health ministers from Commonwealth nations in Geneva that began Sunday. They show that in the most vulnerable countries very little has been done to assess or address the threats climate change poses to health, said Mike Shanahan, spokesman of the London-based IIED.

Saleemul Huq, senior fellow in IIED's climate change group, said: "This in part reflects a failure of wealthy nations to meet promises to help the poorer nations adapt to climate change". The studies found that health systems in many of the least developed countries are already stretched to breaking point dealing with immediate concerns such as malaria and other infectious diseases.

There has been minimal research into how climate change will affect health and what can be done to reduce the threat, leaving hundreds of millions of people uninformed about the dangers.

…"There is very little awareness of the potential impact of climate change on human health within health sectors in the least developed countries," said Hannah Reid, a senior researcher in IIED's climate change group. "There have been very few assessments of how climate change will affect food security, access to water, flood risks and diseases such as malaria." ....

Madana Mohana Temple in Vrindavan, India on Thomasa Daniell's painting

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