Challenges await that require preparation now, experts warn
By Helen Altonn
STORY SUMMARY »
Flooding, famine and disease could affect Pacific island nations first because of global warming, federal officials told delegates at health conference meeting in Honolulu this week.
Dr. Mark Keim of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said rising seas and temperatures could cause drought, flooding and other severe weather, and increase chances of diseases and malnutrition.
Keim and other policy-makers, emergency preparedness and health officials are meeting at the East West Center at the Pacific Global Health Conference.
FULL STORY »
Rising seas and coastal flooding from climate change and global warming will affect millions worldwide, starting in the Pacific, says a federal specialist on environmental health.
American Samoa, Micronesia, Fiji and Tuvalu "will be the most affected early on," Dr. Mark Keim, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told delegates at a Pacific Global Health Conference this week at the East-West Center.
The Pacific already is "the most hazard-prone area in the world" with high death rates from diseases and environmental emergencies, he said. And it will be "the most disaster-prone area in the world" if nothing is done about it, he added.
"Low-lying atolls in our generation or our children's generation will no longer exist unless we do something to mitigate it."
The acting associate director for Terrorism Preparedness and Emergency Response, National Center for Environmental Health, graphically outlined potential worldwide problems from an "unequivocal" warming climate system:
Drought, wildfires, crop failure, storms, flooding, changes in fish abundance, spread of diseases, poor sanitation, malnutrition, more frequent and severe cyclones, more frequent El Ninos, reduced freshwater resources, erosion, coral bleaching and changes in islands' social culture.
"These are remarkable challenges," he said.
Sustainable and renewable energy.
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