Nineteen countries have joined Malta’s call for the EU to be better prepared for the adverse health effects of climate change.
The group of twenty countries submitted a joint document urging the European Commission (EC) and the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) to increase surveillance of potential health threats and prepare health systems for future EMERGENCIES.
“Higher temperatures, changes in precipitation patterns (including floods and droughts) and extreme weather events… will increasingly have a negative impact on human health and potentially on the provision of health services. health”, indicates the document consulted by Malta Times said.
These impacts include deaths and illnesses linked to heat exposure, increased prevalence of diseases spread by insects and contaminated food and water, worsening air pollution, and increased mental health problems.
The document calls on the EC and ECDC to analyze threats to health and health systems, develop preparedness plans, increase threat monitoring, coordinate a common European approach and ensure that the EU is able to provide effective medical treatments.
“Climate change has now become a climate crisis,” he says.
The document will be discussed next week at a meeting of the European Health Council, attended by health ministers from across the continent.
In a message posted on X, formerly Twitter, on Monday, Health Minister Chris Fearne said the group of countries had joined “Malta’s call to link climate change and health”.
Fearne is said to have urged health ministers from across the EU to back the call at an informal meeting.
The document was submitted on behalf of Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Portugal, Romania and Slovenia.
The call follows that of Fearne words on the subject in July, when, during a meeting of the European Council, he declared that Southern Europe was experiencing the devastating effects of climate change in real time.
“Malta will be one of the countries that will strive to have a discussion on climate change and how it affects the health of our citizens and the delivery of our health services,” Fearne said at the time .
Last year, around 61,000 people died during Europe’s record-breaking summer.
In September, scientists from the European Union’s Climate Change Service said this year’s summer had broken all records, far exceeding last year’s average temperature.
Meanwhile, in July alone, 21 people in Malta deceased of dehydration and other heat-related symptoms as the country grappled with a weeks-long heat wave and repeated power outages.
Rising temperatures are linked to the explosion of certain species, notably the tiger mosquito, or forest mosquito, which, according to the newspaper, has spread in a decade to five countries and 223 additional regions across the continent.
The insect is known to spread viruses including yellow fever, dengue fever and Chikungunya fever. .