Climate change expected to cause 50 lakh additional deaths between 2030-50: WHO

New Delhi, April 6 : The climate change is expected to cause an additional 2,50,000 deaths every year between 2030 and 2050, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said on Wednesday. According to the UN agency’s South-East (SE) Asia t, the region, which is home to more than 2 billion people, is highly vulnerable to climate change and has the highest estimated number of deaths due to climate change. “Over 90 per cent of people globally breathe polluted air resulting in 7 million deaths every year including 2.4 million deaths in the SE Asia Region,” the WHO said. “With climate change emerging as the single biggest threat facing humanity and nearly 13 million lives lost every year due to avoidable environmental causes, the World Health Organization is calling for prioritizing equitable health and accelerating steps to protect ecological systems and health to build well-being societies,” the UN agency said in a statement. WHO is called upon countries to prioritize equitable health now and for future generations-including long-term investments, well-being budgets, social protection, and legal and fiscal strategies to allow for societies to flourish and fulfill everyone’s right to health and development while protecting our planet. “We have a once-in-a-century opport ty to drive transformative, lasting change. The Covid-19 pandemic has shown us that if decision-making is transparent, evidence-based, and inclusive, people will support bold and far-reaching policies that protect their health, families and livelihoods,” commented Dr Poonam Ketrapal Singh, Regional Director, WHO SE Asia Region. Ahead of the World Health Day (WHD), the WHO urged governments and people to take measures to protect ‘Our planet, our health,’ the theme of World Health Day 2022. Meanwhile, the UN agency also said that the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has further exposed the inequitable and unsustainable nature of existing political, social, and commercial decisions. “Climate change is putting the health, well-being, and sustainable development of billions of people across the Region and the world at risk. It imperils decades of progress in reducing disease-related morbidity and mortality. We must act now to keep humans and our planet healthy,” said Singh said. According to the WHO, intense rainfall, frequent floods, forest fires and droughts triggered by climate change are already impacting health and livelihood and causing huge sufferings, mental health issues, deaths and displacement, globally and in the SE Asia Region. Rising temperatures are also leading to outbreak of infectious disease, heat strokes, trauma and even death from extreme heat. Crop failure linked to climate change is driving malnutrition and under nutrition, it added. ASH GK

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