Millions more South Asians will suffer from diseases like malaria and cholera, or go hungry due to global warming, but governments are not fully aware of the dangers, the World Health Organization said on Thursday.
A United Nations climate panel report last month predicted climate change would result in temperatures rising by between 1.8 and 4.0 Celsius (3.2 and 7.8 Fahrenheit) in the 21st century.
"Diseases like malaria, Japanese encephalitis, tick-borne diseases, and dengue fever will definitely thrive in warmer climates," he said.
South Asia gets around 20 million cases of malaria every year.
Greater frequency of droughts and heatwaves will not only adversely affect crops but will also punish those who live with a scarcity of water and push up rates of respiratory illness.
At the same time, increased rainfall will trigger damaging floods along rivers.
[Reuters, 15 Feb 2007]
Even after the release of the fourth IPCC report a couple of weeks ago, global warming remains to be a very controversial issue among scientists, politicians, and pundits. Self-interests and preserving the economies of the concerned countries play a major role in the so-called politics of global warming.
But being a southeast Asian citizen, all I can offer you are my experiences and observations --- yes, summer seasons are getting hotter and longer; yes, the typhoons hitting our countries get fiercer and fiercer; yes, the flashfloods and inundations are more frequent, and damage to lives and property seem to be worsening every year.
Malevolent Malaria? Dreadful Dengue? These diseases have been with us for the longest time, and have claimed so many lives already. We long to hear some good news like malaria eradication, or dengue incidence figures going down.
It is already bad as it is. What we fear is it might get worse.