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Global Warming Could Cause up to 10,000 Deaths Per Year in Asia-Pacific WHO Says

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  • Mike Neuman
    Global Warming Could Cause up to 10,000 Deaths Per Year in Asia- Pacific, WHO Official Says September 22, 2005 — By Meraiah Foley, Associated Press NOUMEA,
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 5, 2005
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      Global Warming Could Cause up to 10,000 Deaths Per Year in Asia-
      Pacific, WHO Official Says

      September 22, 2005 — By Meraiah Foley, Associated Press
      NOUMEA, New Caledonia — Up to 10,000 people in the Asia-Pacific
      region could be dying each year as a result of factors associated
      with global warming such as severe weather and mosquito-borne
      disease, a World Health Organization expert said Thursday.

      Based on data gathered in 2000, the U.N. health agency estimates that
      changing weather patterns already has a substantial impact on people
      in the Western Pacific region, which includes most of North Asia,
      parts of Southeast Asia and the South Pacific, according to Dr.
      Hisashi Ogawa, WHO's regional environmental adviser.

      "Roughly 10,000 people ... are estimated to die due to various
      factors" resulting from climate change every year, Ogawa told The
      Associated Press during a break in a WHO conference in Noumea, New
      Caledonia.

      But, he warned: "That number could increase" over the next 50 to 100
      years.

      Preliminary research suggests that rising global temperatures have
      already led to an increase in extreme weather patterns in the region,
      including cyclones, typhoons, droughts and floods, he said.

      For example, the incidence of storms in the Western Pacific region
      had risen by about 2 percent from the early 1980s to the late 1990s,
      Ogawa said.

      "But the number of deaths due to various natural disasters --
      droughts, floods, storms -- has increased (by) about 30 to 40
      percent," he said.

      Ogawa said it was not possible to pinpoint the exact reason for the
      rise in deaths, but said the region's increasingly aged population
      was more vulnerable to adverse weather conditions.

      Rising temperatures also may reduce water quality in some areas and
      lead to a rise in diseases spread by mosquitoes, which breed in
      stagnant water, Ogawa warned.

      He said regional governments should step-up measures to reduce carbon
      dioxide emissions, but should also boost surveillance of climate
      change related illnesses.

      "Of course we need to reduce the emissions," he said. "But in the
      meantime, knowing the increase in global temperature, we need to
      adapt ourselves or our way of living to ... the changing climate
      (and) weather patterns."

      Other environmental factors have also taken their toll on health in
      the region, WHO said.

      An estimated 1 million people die each year from health risks
      associated with indoor smoke from cooking and heating fuels, urban
      air pollution, unsafe water and inadequate hygiene and sanitation.
      Other risks include exposure to lead, agrochemical contaminants and
      industrial accidents, WHO said.

      On Thursday, the Western Pacific Regional Committee, WHO's governing
      body in the region, said the number of fatalities could increase if
      member states do not work to improve workplace conditions and do more
      to fight environmental health risks.

      Source: Associated Press
      http://enn.com/today.html?id=8866
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